Churchmount interview series

In this series, I interview sheepdog handlers and experts from Ireland and around the world about their experiences. The series aims to spark new ideas for training and handling and to share both my experiences and the experiences of my guests. I hope for the interviews to spark new ideas for listeners and encourage trying new and different sheepdog training techniques.

The series is in part sponsored by Away With Dogs, a Sheepdog Trial YouTube series.

If you enjoy the interviews, I’d appreciate your support by becoming a Patron, or by donating to Churchmount.

Behind the scenes with round pen expert Tony Rofe

What are the benefits of round pen sheepdog training? I first met sheepdog trainer and handler, Mr. Tony Rofe, when we traveled together on a trip to the European Nursery Championship in Holland. The ENC is a sheepdog trial where Border Collies from all over Europe, the UK and Ireland can go to compete. In this interview, Tony tells us [...] Continue Reading

World Sheepdog Trial finalist & International Supreme Judge Toddy Lambe

How to achieve sheepdog trial success with proper training and the right material. Toddy Lambe represents everything that is good about sheepdog trialling. Toddy has won the International Sheepdog Trial Supreme and a couple of National Sheepdog Trials to date. Toddy is not farming on big runs of ground or with big numbers of sheep. So he is all the [...] Continue Reading

Author and international trial judge Sue Main

Advice and tips for judging a sheepdog trial. In this interview Sue shares some advice and tips for successful trial judging with me before a judging assignment. Sue has been involved in sheepdogs for over 30 years and has judged in sheepdog trials nationally and internationally. Sue was also very instrumental in the formation of the 1st World Sheepdog Trial. [...] Continue Reading

Preparing for the World Sheepdog Trial final with Serge Van Der Zweep

Advice for an open sheepdog handler. In this interview asked Serge Van Der Zweep giving me some insight into how he got started. He discusses which handlers influenced him the most, what advice would he give an open handler and how he prepares for a World Sheepdog Trial Final. Serge is one of those handlers who are not dependent on [...] Continue Reading

Insights from world class handler Erik Holmgaard

An insight on how top sheepdog trial competitors think. In conversation with Erik Holmgaard. Erik is a world class handler but he is the kind of trainer who adjusts his training and thinking to whatever dog he is working with. Erik also shares his knowledge and experience, by giving lessons to handlers at his training centre in Denmark and also doing [...] Continue Reading

A veterinary surgeon’s approach to sheepdog training with Dr Viola Hebeler

What traits does a veterinary surgeon look for in a sheepdog? I first met Dr Viola Hebler back in 2015 and the European Nursery Championship. I was attracted to her dog’s way of working and got to see him run again in the final there. Viola works as a veterinary surgeon yet finds time to train her dogs to compete [...] Continue Reading

Alasdair MacRae on the MacRae Way

What does it take to achieve success in sheepdog training and competitions? I was lucky enough to talk to Alastair Mac Rae about qualities in successful dogs and the mindset and ambition of a top handler. The plan was to make a 15-minute interview. however, the conversation broadened a bit and we went for nearly an hour and a half! [...] Continue Reading

Neil Gillon talks trial cancellations & Brexit

One Man and His Dog and the impact of Brexit on farming Neil Gillon’s Hill Trial had to be cancelled this year because a mist came down on the hill making visibility impossible, but as we say in Ireland, “its an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good”. The fact that the Hill Trial was postponed meant that on the [...] Continue Reading

Talking with Michael Longton

Michael comes from a very famous family that have been sheepdog trialing at the top levels for decades going back to before the war. Michael began handling dogs at the age of 12 and by the age of 24 had secured winning his first English National. Michael has gone on to compete in 4 International Supreme finals since, with 3rd […] Continue Reading

Shepherd from Iraq, what are the chances?

How often do you get to meet anyone from Iraq? Well in my case the answer is, not very often! when I ask the same question but put in ‘shepherd’ aswell, then the odds drop significantly. So i thought i better ask Omar Alkubaisy a few questions. Omar told me he got into sheep first and then ran into handlers […] Continue Reading

Canadian sheepdog handler Scott Glen shares his thoughts on workingdogs and sheep

          A week or so I spotted something on Facebook. It was Scott Glen doing a sheepdog training clinic using the Zoom app. I was smiling to myself thinking about how we are changing as the result of Covid when an idea sparked in my mind. Since Scott is so handy on Zoom, why don’t I […] Continue Reading

Austrian city girl talks about following her passion to Ireland

Austrian sheepdog handler talks about the differences she has met with training dogs and competing in trials in Ireland. In 2019 Mirjam Lettner was successful in winning a place on the Irish Sheepdog Team to go forward to the International competition.

Jim Cropper talking about legendary sheepdogs and men from the 60’s

the great J.M. Wilson sent Jim a letter asking if he’d like to come up and show Fleet working sheep.

Nigel Watkins is talking sheepdogs

      This is a very frank interview! Someone said to me that they have heard all the Churchmount interviews on soundcloud and that this one is by far the best. This one is where the world renowned Nigel Watkins is talking sheepdogs. Nigel is true to form with no holds barred! Nigel tells me about how Foot and […] Continue Reading

In conversation with Con McGarry

I am fortunate in that I often find myself in conversation with Con McGarry. Last year we traveled together to the European Nursery Championship in Holland. We were due to travel again to it this year but of course, Covid19 changed all our plans. That said, I did get to travel with Con and two other directors, to ISDS meeting […] Continue Reading

Talking sheepdogs with Aled Owen

    Talking with Aled Owen I know that I don’t need to remind you of the gravity of the situation we are facing at present with this virus. However, I think that as sheepdog enthusiasts, we are very lucky in that at least we can escape from the news into our own dog world for a while.   2001 […] Continue Reading