12 yr old Charlie Dumbleton gave top handlers a run for their money at Deerplay hill trial

Charlie Dumbleton, 12 year old son of Fay and James Dumbleton has worked a dog since he was 6 yrs old, entering his first trial at the tender age of 7 years with Hillmoor Dot, trained by Frank Cleary and given to him by Ed Thornalley.

Thanks to Ed, Dot was the start of Charlie’s journey into the world of sheepdog handling and trialling. She was a wide flanking dog but great stopper and could be trusted to help gather sheep with Charlie at an early age.

Where it all started

Charlie is a typical young boy who enjoys his ball games, motor biking and swimming in the brook with his cousins Noah and Rory. Like his friends Ashley and Daniel Hutchinson, he also has a love for animals such as chickens, guinea pigs and dogs. It was through his interest in chickens, selling his home bred Welsumer pullets and his eggs on his egg round, that he saved up and bought his 9yr old bitch Preseli Del (Llion Harries’ Cwmadog Bess X the late Pennant Williams’ Sweep), from Angie Blackmore.

Credit is given to Angie whose previous trial successes and experience with Del have given Charlie the opportunity to progress. He spends a lot of time around the farm with Del and has built that very important bond with her; something that cannot be bought but with respect, is earned and worked for.

Charlie comes from a long line of farmers

Charlie has generations of farming in his blood and unlike his older brother Ollie and sister Neve is very keen to carry on the family tradition, particularly on the livestock rather than the machinery side of farming. James and Faye are under no illusions that Charlie could change his mind at any point, he’s only 12 years old and as long as he is happy so are they.

Both Charlie’s father James and Uncle Ben are successful competitors and judges of sheepdog trials so it seemed inevitable that at least one member of the family should follow suit.

Advice & encouragement from the best

As is common in the Trialling fraternity, advice and encouragement, especially to a youngster, is very forthcoming and both Charlie and James have benefitted from some of that advice along the way. James’ own enthusiasm to help Charlie created pressure between them but some wise words from handlers Kevin Evans and Ricky Hutchinson to basically remember that he is still a young boy, to take off the pressure and to give advice more tactfully and not during or immediately following training or trials, has made a big difference says James. It is also important to realise that too much advice from too many people can confuse a young handler and his dog.

Favourite handlers

Charlie watches other handlers very closely at trials and when asked who his favourite handler was said that there were too many to choose from but he agreed with James and Ben and liked to see Aled Owen, Kevin Evans and Ricky Hutchinson finish their runs. He admires Colin Pickford and James Gilman who are local and train their own dogs, taking what they have and working with them. Charlie enjoys watching James Howard, David Wood and good work dogs that can trial to a high level. These are an important part of trialling yet he also recognises the importance of farm dogs or ‘dogs for farmers’.

Charlie has had quite a bit of success over the years, usually at local trials, but this year was the first time he’s attempted a course like Deerplay Hill Championships. He was the highest placed Young Handler under 25 years and came 7th out of 20 in the final of the prestigious Deerplay Hill Trial.

Delighted to say that Charlie feeds CP30 and our Salmon Oil to his bitch, Preseli Del.

Charlie’s father, James says that Preseli Del was so full of running that he felt she could have done the course again!

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