A Melton sheepdog trainer and farmer has won the first-ever UK Four Nations Nursery Championship.
Nij Vyas, who resides in the hamlet of John O’Gaunt, took the title with his sheepdog Cody.
The event held in Slindon in Staffordshire brought together some of the best handlers in the country and the most promising young dogs.
Nij said: “Last year I was part of the five man England team to win the World Sheepdog Trials in the Netherlands but this achievement by far outshines that, as the UK has the best handlers in the world.
“This was a tough event to win as can be seen by the handlers who were placed behind me, each one of a very high calibre.”
The route to becoming a champion was long drawn-out process for Nij.
The fifty-four-year-old explained: “Each of the home nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland ) have several societies that run sheepdog trials from September to March, with each trial attracting between 40 to 60 dogs.
“At the end of February each society selected three handlers to represent them in their national nursery final. I was in the fifth English nursery final.
“Ten handlers from each of these finals then represented their country on March 18 at the Four Nations Nursery Championship, where I was the eventual winner.
“Not only was the competition very tough but the weather too was a major player with snow and heavy winds throughout the day. The course itself was also quite a large one for young dogs.”
Nij is a published author and international judge running training clinics all over Europe.