VISITORS to this year’s Royal Welsh Show can look forward to sheep dog trials which will run over the four days of the event from July 18 to 21.

The trials will take place on a course adjoining the showground and the finals will take place in the main ring.

The first sheep dog trials took place in New Zealand back in 1867 but Wales soon followed when the first trials held in the UK were staged at Bala in 1873. They were organised by Richard John Lloyd Price, of the Rhiwlas Estate. Ten dogs competed before a crowd of 300 spectators.

The connection with the Price family, the estate and sheep dog trialing has been maintained for nearly 130 years. Rhiwlas was the venue for the International Sheep Dog Trials in 1973 and again in 1980 when the estate’s present owner, Robin Price, was President of the International Sheep Dog Society. He also hosted and was President of the first ever World Sheep Dog Trials when they were held in Rhiwlas in 2002. Mr Price is a former President of the RWAS.

Top dogs and their handlers from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, will compete in the sheep dog trials at the show which begin on the morning of the first day, with the first round of the Champion of Champions competition on the trial course followed by the second round in the main ring starting at 1.30pm. The 2010 National Singles Champions for Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland will compete for the top prize of £400 while £300 will go to the runner-up and prizes of £200 and £100 to the third and fourth placed.

On the second day of the event young handlers (21 years old and under on the first day of the show) will get the chance to demonstrate their skills at a Young Handlers competition staged in the cattle ring while the Open Trial will take place out on the trial course.

The open trial competition continues on Wednesday, July 20, and on the final day of the show the Open Trial Championship, consisting of the top two competitors from Tuesday and Wednesday, will take place in the main ring beginning at 1.15pm.

“The skills of the dogs and their handlers make spectacular viewing and we hope visitors will take the opportunity to see some of the finest performers in the country in action at the show,” said Royal Welsh Chief Executive, David Walters. “It is an attraction not to be missed.”