Nij Vyas, from the hamlet of John O’Gaunt, won the England National Reserve Champion title at the England National Sheepdog Trials, held in Lowick, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Having run three dogs overall in the brace and singles competition, he won the competition with four-year-old Kemi Lara having competed against 150 of the best handlers in the country.
It was all the more impressive because Lara dislocated her foot in training two years ago and it was feared she would never recover sufficiently to compete at a high level.
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With the help and expertise of a specialist vet in Nantwich, a dog physiotherapist in Rutland and Nij’s perseverance and belief in Lara she was recently brought back into a very careful training programme and went on to claim the national title with him.
Nij said: “To have brought her back to the standard of skill and fitness required to compete at such a high level took a leap of faith but it shows what a talented dog Lara is.
“I am also competing now with two of her pups, which are two-years-old, and they are also showing similar promise.”
Nij, who farms and has a flock of over 200 sheep at Tilton on the Hill, has been in the business of sheepdog training and trialling and doing well at national level for over 30 years.
He says he owes an enormous debt of gratitude to local farmers, such as Gareth Owen and Richard Walker, for making their land and their sheep available for training.