LOWER ONSLOW, NS
When Fred Hamilton was 13 years old he saved his money and bought his first border collie. He still has border collies today, and a couple of them will be joining other dogs in sheep herding trials at his farm this weekend.
“There are 21 competitors coming, with 34 dogs, and they’re all border collies,” he said.
Two of his own dogs, 10-year-old Georgie and four-year-old Cap, will be competing. He has four other dogs but two are retired and one is quite young.
Hamilton first fell in love with border collies when he saw Brian Nettleton (a veterinarian who used to have a practice in Truro) herding sheep with them. The 13-year-old found he could buy a pup for $50.
“That was a lot for a 13 year old to save at that time,” he said. “I was pretty happy when I got the pup.”
As an adult, he had the dogs working with him on the farm, but he hadn’t considered competition until he attended a training clinic at Ross Farm.
“I watched and said, ‘I think I could do that with a cow dog.’ I got some lambs and worked with the dogs and I was hooked.”
At trials dogs are able to compete in novice, pro novice, ranch and open classes. Hamilton has been holding trials at his farm for seven years and competitors come from the Maritimes, Ontario, Quebec, Maine and New Hampshire.
He said anyone who would like to watch the trails is welcome to drop in, but they should bring warm clothing and a chair to ensure comfort. Handlers will be happy to chat with visitors about what’s going on.
The trails are being held Saturday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m. at Hamilton’s farm (Milferns Holsteins and Hamilton Sleigh and Wagon Rides) at
12589 Trunk 2 in Lower Onslow.