Bobby wins league for 21st time

Bobby Henderson, team captain of Lanark, Lothians and Peebles League, with sheepdog, Bonnie.
Bobby Henderson, team captain of Lanark, Lothians and Peebles League, with sheepdog, Bonnie.
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A Borders sheepdog handler has won the International Sheep Dog Society’s Lanark, Lothians and Peebles nursery league for a record 21st time.

Bobby Henderson and his two-year-old bitch Bonnie competed in seven trials between November and last month to secure that title once again.

The 75-year-old has been competing for over 45 years and has represented Scotland 11 times.

He has also previously won the Scottish nursery final twice, as well as twice being runner-up.

Bobby, of Carcant Farm, Heriot, has been breeding his own line of Border collie for years and he credits that for his success.

He said: “The league has been running since 1972, and I competed in that very first one.

“Last year, Bonnie ran her first trial, but she was very young and really quite inexperienced.

“She is now already a lot more experienced in the kind of activities involved at these events, so I feel quite confident in how she will do in upcoming competitions.”

Bobby now competes alongside his partner, Julie Hill, tenant farmer at Carcant Farm.

Julie, 53, was given a spa voucher for Stobo Castle, near Peebles, by the league in recognition of her achievement in winning the international brace championship in Wales in September.

That was the second time that Julie and her dogs Mac, nine, and Ban, eight, had won the championship after first doing so in 2013.

Bobby and Julie most recently competed in the Scottish National Nursery Sheepdog Championships at Cawdor, near Nairn, as part of a five-person team representing their league.

They were joined by Davie Wallace, of West Linton, and his bitch Tess and Joe McRobert, of Tweedsmuir, with his bitch Nell.

Julie said: “The team know each other very well.

“Bobby has been in the area all his life, and I have been for many years now.

“We all compete regularly throughout the summer month,s so we are continuously in touch that way.

“In terms of training the dogs, we can only push the dogs so far, and you do have to let them go at their own pace and in their own time as they will be better dogs for it. They can grow through competitions as they get older.

“We have really high hopes for Bonnie and the future.”

The league now hopes to encourage young dog handlers by putting an award up for grabs.

Karen Aitcheson, of West Linton, won this year’s young handler award, and the league is now accepting applications for training for the coming year.

Anyone interested should email Julie Hill at sheepdogjulie@btinternet.com

Julie, the only female handler ever to have been named international supreme champion of champions, added: “It is a very social club here, and we are all doing what we can to encourage young handlers.

“Aside from meeting up regularly at competitions or at social events we all try to do as much as we can to put on training for young handlers and to promote dog trials to young people in the area.

“We hope we can continue to do so by also ensuring we have regular competitions.”

The group will next compete in August at Ballinluig, Perthshire, at 2017’s Scottish National Sheep Dog Trials.