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World Trial History

There has always been great interest in the ISDS from dog handlers outside the four home-nations. Many see the International as the ‘ultimate challenge’ and towards the end of the 1990’s there was talk of whether the top Continental handlers could run at the International. Sheer numbers, logistics and politics said it could never work.

In 2001 the Society and its members suffered a great set back from the UK foot-and-mouth epidemic. As an idea to help the recovery of the Society, and to meet the deep-felt wish of overseas members to compete with those from the home nations, the Society, led by members from Wales, organised the 2002 Bala World Sheepdog Trials. It was an invitation trial, as there was no time for nations to qualify, and was enormously successful and popular seeing 160 dogs from 13 nations compete through qualifying, semi-finals and finals over four days. Although there had been earlier overseas trials described as world events, they involved only a few individuals from the home nations. The 2002 Bala event was the first, truly world-sized gathering and competition.

In 2005 the Society staged its second world trials, in Tullamore, Ireland. This time, 241 dogs from 21 nations competed, each having qualified to represent their country. The winners after four days of competition were Gordon Watt and York. To become a champion, York had to be at or near his best in each of three separate trials.