Sheepdog trials world title for Melton man

John O'Gaunt man Neeraj Vyas, a member of the England team which won the World Sheepdog Trials Champiionship for the first time, with his collies Mac, Mist, Todd, Skye and Jake EMN-170719-110938001
John O'Gaunt man Neeraj Vyas, a member of the England team which won the World Sheepdog Trials Champiionship for the first time, with his collies Mac, Mist, Todd, Skye and Jake EMN-170719-110938001

A Melton man is celebrating after becoming world sheepdog trials champion.

Nij Vyas, who lives in the hamlet of John O’Gaunt, was a member of the England team which won the title for the first time ever.

His collie Todd overcame an eye injury to help the team to victory in Holland.

They beat off competition from 264 handlers from 30 nations.

After returning home this week, Nij told the Melton Times: “It feels pretty special to be part of the first England team to win the world title.

“It was a very difficult championship to win, particularly with there being so many handlers there and with the other home nations being so strong.”

In the qualifying competition, Nij worked with his dog Jake but because he was carrying an injury he decided to compete in the finals with Todd.

But the day before the semi-finals Todd got into a fight with another of his dogs and sustained an eye injury.

“Todd took part still and did very well despite having a very difficult load of sheep to round up,” said Nij.

“We managed to get to the semi-finals in the individual championship as well as being part of the winning team.”

Nij is a sheepdog handler, trainer and judge and will be judging the English national sheepdog trials next week.

He is the author of a book called ‘Sheepdog Training and Trials’ and also released a training DVD called ‘Practical Shepherding’.

And Nij would like to see the traditional sheepdog handling skills maintained by future generations.

He added: “A lot of people in farming now use a quad bike or Land Rover to round up their sheep.

“There is no pleasure in chasing an animal with a machine, in my opinion.”