A Way with Dogs – Meet the handlers

Watch A Way with Dogs: http://www.csjk9.com/a-way-with-dogs.asp

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Programme 1

  1. Gethin Jones
  2. Gwynfor Owen
  3. J R Griffith

Programme 2

  1. Arwyn Davies
  2. Gwyn Jones
  3. Hefin Jones

Programme 3

  1. Medwyn Evans
  2. Pennant Williams
  3. Alan Ll Jones

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Programme 1

1. Gethin Jones

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-04-27Based in Llangollen, Gethin farms with his dad Glyn L Jones and brother on approximately 1500 hectares of a Welsh hill farm at Cwm-y-Geifr, Llanarmon DC. Fran has proven to be a competent trialling dog coming into her own this year. She is one of Gethin’s main work dogs on the farm and has to work most days at hand and distance.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

“I was about 12 when I ran my first trial. Dad has been trialling all his life, so we spent a lot of hours in the trial field. It was inevitable that my brother and I would eventually have a go.”

Challenges

“You’re only as good as your last trial, as each trial throws up different difficulties. Dad has had a lot of influence on me and says that you should learn from difficulties and not moan about them.”

Successes

“I have been in the Welsh team 3 times and each time making the Supreme Final. I won the qualification trial in the International in Ireland near Kilkenny and have twice represented Wales in the World Trial reaching the final in Llandeilo. I have also won the North Wales Championship twice.”

Best moment

“Hard to say as I’ve had a lot of good moments, but I suppose at the start, I was picked as a young handler for Wales in Seaforde, Northern Ireland and I won the competition, so that was pretty special.”

How has training changed since you started?

I think the biggest change is that it has become more professional with handlers making a living from trialling.

Most embarrassing moments?

“My worst moment was in a Supreme final in Scotland. It was in a flat field and I was running my dear old dog Jill and she would not or could not hear. I had never seen her run like that and on the cross-drive, I had shouted so much that I had no spit left to whistle, since then I make sure I carry water. Although it was embarrassing, I was not alone as most of the finalists shared the same problem. I am not a lover of flat trial fields.

Fun facts

In 2003, I was presented to Prince Charles as the youngest competitor at the Welsh national.

Sheepdog – Fran

Breeding

Sire – F McCullough – Craig

Dam – G L Jones – Gail

Age – 5 years old

ISDS No. 312820

Achievements

“Fran won the double fetch in Wirswall on Sunday 4 October and has been running consistently over the season.”

Personality

“Fran is probably quite pushy and does not mess around when dealing with sheep. She likes to pose her authority.”

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2. Gwynfor Owen

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-04-38Based in Anglesey, Gwynfor Owen is a retired Headteacher and Ofsted Inspector, he has been competing in sheepdog trials for over 30 years. Gwynfor chose Ben to work with as he is a young dog, good with sheep and usually a good listener. Today, he uses Ben as a good hill dog and works him regularly at home with a flock of 250 ewes.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

Gwynfor has always been interested in dogs and was born and brought up on a farm.

Challenges

He worked in Liverpool for many of those years, where it was difficult to keep dogs on top form and he could only work them at weekends and school holidays.

Successes

Gwynfor has represented Wales five times and was in the Welsh Five-Man Team for the World Trial 2014.

Best moment

“First time in the Welsh Team.”

How has training changed since you started?

“Competition has always been fierce and there have always been top-class dogs and handlers in North Wales. Unfortunately there are fewer competing with stronger handlers coming through.Trialling has exploded all over the world – 27 counties took part in the 2014 World Trial. There’s a huge demand for working collies.”

Most embarrassing moments?

“Too many to count!”

Fun facts

Gwynfor enjoys competition and has taken part in sport all his life. He was in the Welsh Clay Shooting Team for 13 consecutive years, was British Open Champion in 1983 and played senior rugby.

Sheepdog – Ben

Breeding

Sire – G Owens – Zac

Dam – W Griffiths – Nell

Age – 3 years, 5 months

ISDS No. 315406

Achievements

Ben has won 6 Opens on the North Wales Circuit, including the final at Vivod and the final of the Deerplay Hill Trial.

Personality

A calm temperament, but can push if needed.

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3. J R Griffith

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-03-58A retired farmer and milk retailer, J R Griffith is based in Caernarfon, North Wales and chose Sam to work with, because he is his best dog at the moment.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

J R Griffith first became involved in sheepdog trials around 50 years ago. His brother started 12 years before him. So the young J R Griffith thought he’d give it a go and was hooked for life!

Challenges

“Age!”

Successes

J R Griffith won third in the International Supreme, the Farmer’s Cup at International level and was the International Brace Champion at the Internationals six times.

Best moment

“Winning the International for the first time and winning ‘One Man and his Dog”

How has training changed since you started?

“Yes very much. Sheep are much more difficult because quads have replaced dogs and in some trials, the sheep have never been handled by a dog. Also in the old days, handlers were farmers and shepherds and were used to working sheep. A lot are now ‘hobby’ farmers.”

Most embarrassing moments?

“Winning the Supreme up until the shed element, when I could just not shed!”

Fun facts

J R Griffith has been on ‘One Man and his Dog’ seven times.

Sheepdog – Sam

Breeding

Sire: Bob (J R Griffith – 300530)

Dam: Gwenno (J R Griffith – 268595).

ISDS No. 00/311968

Achievements

“Sam has won the Welsh Brace Championship and numerous Open Trials. He is a friendly dog, a good listener and very obedient.”

Personality

J R Griffith just uses Sam for checking the sheep now, grazing on his land “Sam is young, willing and fit”.

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Programme 2

1. Gwyn Jones, Penmachno

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-03-44Gwyn Jones is a farmer living and working in Conwy, North Wales. He works with Roy, his only dog now, who is 10.5 years old. In day to day life, Roy helps Gwyn with general farm work and gathering sheep in pens.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

Gwyn was about 15/16 years old and shearing, when he heard some local men talking about sheepdog trials. He wanted to have a go, so bought a pup for £3.00 and called her Wendy, after a dog, the late H Glyn Jones was running. Gwyn trained Wendy himself and took her to a few trials. He was so nervous at his first trial in Betwys Yn Rhos that he couldn’t whistle. Later that year he won 5 trials! Nine years later, at 26 years old, Gwyn won his place in the Welsh Team. The 2nd time he qualified for the team, at 29, Gwyn won the Supreme Championship.

Challenges

At first, Gwyn found difficulty in getting a good command, until John Williams, from Abbey Farm Rhuddlan told him that he was a good whistler, but lacked authority in his whistler or command. Once Gwyn mastered the authority, things started to improve.

Successes

Gwyn has won 3 Nationals and 3 Supremes, as well as ‘One Man and his Dog’ and Longshaw Sheepdog Trial, three times. He has run in the Welsh Team approximately 30 times and the North Wales Championships several times.

Best moment

“My best moment was winning my first Novice trial. I felt that was a great achievement at the time, but winning my first Supreme was my best moment.”

How has training changed since you started?

“During my trialling life, I’ve seen a period of top class dogs and handlers in open trials, losing 1 or 2 points, where a 4-point run would have been out of the money. To be successful, you have to ‘up’ your game. I think the style of handling dogs has changed. I remember when dogs could master, but also blend in with their sheep, especially the bad sheep we had back then.”

Fun facts

Gwyn trained Bosworth Coon when he was 19 years old. He was influenced by Jack Richardson and Wiston Cap and Alan Jones with Roy and their style of handling. He is a firm believer that a dog should work in contact with its sheep, but with a good cast and clean flanks.

Sheepdog – Roy

Breeding

Sire: Bill: 252806 Gallagher

Dam: Nan: 232517 W B Smyth

Age: 10.5 years

Achievements

Roy won the 4 Province double gather in Ireland. He was previously a member of the Irish Team in 2007. Winner of 8 Open Championships, he has won the Swyddffynnon double gather and has twice been a member of the Welsh Team.

Personality

“Roy has a good temperament, he’s a fairly loose eyed dog, kind to his sheep, hard in the past, but now he has mellowed with age. Roy prefers to work in contact with his sheep.”

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2. Arwyn Davies

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-04-04Arwyn is a farmer living in Corwen, Wales. He chose Meg to work with because she is his best dog.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

Arwyn first became involved in sheepdog trials in 2005. His dad, Bryn Davies (Bryneglwys) persuaded him to have a go at a local trial.

Challenges

“Finding another bitch to replace my best one”(Moel Floss).

Successes

“Reaching the Supreme Final, twice a team member, twice Reserve Champion North Wales, twice Champion Vivod Final, as well as many open wins.”

Best moment

“Reaching the Supreme Final.”

Most embarrassing moments?

“Couldn’t move on stubborn sheep in the National!”

How has training changed since you started?

“Yes, the standard of dogs has gone much higher and it’s harder to win an open these days.”

Fun facts

Arwyn likes to play rugby.

Sheepdog – Meg

ISDS No: 00/321151

Age: 3  1/2 years old

Achievements

Meg has won 4th in the North Wales Final, 3rd in the Glyn Ceiriog Final and 3 Open Wins.

Personality

“She’s got a good temperament, very pushy and nice style.”

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3. Hefin Jones

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-04-16Hefin lives and works at Dolgellau, Wales. He’s a farmer and Casi is his only trial dog at the moment. This is her first season for trialling.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

Hefin was first given a 4 month old bitch called Meg and was very lucky. She turned out to be his best ever dog.

Challenges

“Getting enough time for trials, due to work commitments in running the farm.”

Successes

Hefin represented Wales 11 times. He won the National with first Meg in 1988 and 1990. He went on to win the National with her daughter, also called Meg, by Bwlch Taff in 1995 and 1997.

Best moment

“Winning my First National in 1988 and coming 3rd in the Supreme Championship at Blair Athol.”

Most embarrassing moments?

“After winning my first National, I ran at the local trial at Dolgellau (not an Open, just a local class). I was hearing everyone saying this bitch had just won the National and she worked like a pig. I couldn’t believe it! I came off with a grin on my face and remembered what Joe McRobert said once – you’re only as good as your last run. How true!’

How has training changed since you started?

Yes, it’s a lot more professional now, than what it used to be. It’s more of a business now.”

Sheepdog – Casi

Breeding

Sire: ZIP, J T B Jones 278126 – goes back to Stuart Davidson’s Star

Dam: Medwyn Evans’ Caddy 261110 – great granddaughter to my first Meg.

Age: 4 years 8 months

Achievements

1st season out. Two Firsts and a Second in the Open Championship. Later we won 6th in the 2015 Welsh National Championship.

Personality

“Her temperament is spot on. Very natural with good balance and she’s kind to her sheep.”

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 Programme 3

1. Medwyn Evans

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-03-51Involvement in sheepdog trials

Medwyn is a shepherd, living in Dolgellau, Wales and is involved in all aspects of sheep work. He chose Meg for the trial because she’s the best dog he’s got.

Challenges

Shedding, in a ring.

Successes

Welsh National Champion twice. International Qualifying winner 2013. Welsh Team Member nine times.

Best moment

“My last win”

How has training changed since you started?

“Fewer competitors, but they’re running more dogs, less banter today.”

Sheepdog – Meg

Breeding

Sire: Shep (Medwyn Evans ) 300069

Dam: Jan (Medwyn Evans) 294138

Age: 4 years, 9 months

Achievements

“Welsh National Champion 2014, Semi-Finalist World Trials 2014. Over 100 points this season.”

Personality

“Very friendly, pushy, but wants to please.”

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2. Pennant Williams

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-04-10Pennant is based in Mold, North Wales. He’s a Livestock Buyer who uses his dog Sweep to gather and sort his sheep.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

Some years ago, Pennant was on holiday and was called in for a trial. He stayed all day and was hooked from then on. He began trialling in 2001.

Best moment

“Qualifying for the International at Cardiff, when Sweep was just 2 years old – the youngest dog in the competition.”

Most embarrassing moments?

“Set off for trial without the dog!”

How has training changed since you started?

“People are getting more educated and purchasing better dogs.”

Fun facts

Trialling has taken Pennant to many places, including Ireland, the Isle of man, France and Holland and enabled him to meet and make many friends.

Sheepdog – Sweep

Breeding

Sire: Dale – P Williams

Dam: Jess – A R Williams

Age: 10 years old

Achievements

Sweep has achieved over 30 open wins. He has qualified for the World Trial International twice.

Personality

“Very obedient, very loving dog.”

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3. Alan Ll Jones

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-18-04-22Alan is a farmer, living and working in Bala, North Wales. He uses Beca in all his farm work. He chooses to work with Beca because she is a natural farm and trial dog.

Involvement in sheepdog trials

Alan’s dad, Gwyn Lloyd Jones always competed in trials and Alan accompanied him since a very young age. He ran his first trial when he was six years old.

Successes

Welsh team Captain in 2008. 2nd in International (twice) and 8th in the World trial. Alan was World Trials finalist twice.

Best moment

“Making the final in the first World Trials held at my home town of Bala.”

How has training changed since you started?

“No”

Most embarrassing moments?

“Being disqualified twice in the World Trials.”

Fun facts

When Alan was Wales Captain in 2008, his dad was also a team member.

Sheepdog – Beca

Breeding

Sire: Zip. J T B Jones

Dam: A Ll Jones

ISDS No. 00-309772

Age: 5 years, 5 months

Achievements

“Second in the Welsh National Trial 2014. Second in the North Wales trial 2015.”

Personality

“Gentle and pushy with a large flock.”

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