The members of the Northern Ireland Sheepdog Association held their Annual General Meeting on Monday, February 18, in the Old Courthouse, Moneymore at 7.30pm.
There was a good number of members present and a good productive meeting was had.
The association was found to be in good standing, with records showing in February 2017 14 members, February 2018 36 members and by February 2019 54 members.
The officers and committee were elected for the coming year.
The association had a very good year with nursery trials held in both regions with numbers up all around. Also quite a few members were involved in running the 2018 International Sheepdog Trial at Dromara, Co Down, which was one of the best internationals for some time and attracted a lot of good comments from all over the world.
This year again there will be members involved in the 2019 Irish National to be held near Minerstown, Co Down.
The association also had three new venues last year for open trials and this year they plan to have a few more new venues to promote sheepdog trialling in Northern Ireland. The association is hoping to have a few Young Handler Clinics to encourage young handlers into trialling.
A new young handlers class will be introduced into this year’s nursery trials for handlers under 18 who have not gained open points and the dog can be of any age. The purpose is to encourage young handlers to compete in an environment where they don’t feel under any pressure.
A new competition for members is also on the agenda - the Northern Ireland Champion of Champions. Competitors will have to be qualified from the Northern Ireland Championship trial for members. The new competition will consist of a double lift trial with five sheep from each lift with four sheep being marked with collars to be penned at the finish of the run.
Mr John Maginn, an esteemed member of the Northern Ireland Sheepdog Handlers Association, also had a good year with his two dogs in the Brace competitions. He won the Northern Ireland Brace Championship, The Irish National Brace Championship and the International Brace Championship. The officers presented John with a cut glass vase to acknowledge his success.
The officers and members are delighted how the association is progressing and growing every year and they are committed to promoting the working Border Collie and Sheepdog Trialling in Northern Ireland.
Handlers living outside Northern Ireland in the bordering counties are also welcome as associate members. Anyone interested in becoming a member should contact the secretary Susan Kelly on 07732334368 or speak to any member.