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In September 1981 a small group of sheepdog enthusiasts held a sheep dog trial at Feltons Farm near Dorking. Following the success of this, the Surrey Sheep Dog Society was founded in March 1982 with the first trial being held at Headley in the June of that year.

At the outset the emphasis was towards the novice dog and handler, with only one resident national standard handler, but over the years talents have developed and standards improved and the Society is now regarded amongst the best with many of the top handlers from other societies entering the trials. The Society can boast a membership in excess of 100, many of whom are regarded as top flight handlers. Several of the members have represented England on BBC "One Man and His Dog" and a number have also represented their country at international level. In addition there are three past national champions and one past Supreme Champion, the sheepdog equivalent to winning the world Formula 1 motor racing championship.

The greatest acknowledgement of sheepdog trialling in Surrey was in 1990 when some members of the Society, under the chairmanship of local farm manager Andy Jackman, staged the English National Sheepdog Trial on Box Hill. The venue is regarded as one of the finest trial grounds England has to offer. Over 1000 ewes were used and 150 dogs competed over 3 consecutive days in August, when temperatures reached 90F, to select the England team for that year. It is well documented as one of the best, if not the best, English National Trials ever and is testimony to the high standard of animal care that over those 3 days not one dog or sheep faltered in the heat.

The Society stages four or five open trials every year culminating in their 2 day championship event in September in addition to a winter series of nursery/novice trials for young dogs.

New members are always welcome and further information can be obtained from the secretary: Jill Woolston, 71 Meath Green Lane, Horley, Surrey, RH6 8HN

 

All drawings copyright © Suzy Woolston