For generations farmers and their dogs have taken to the hills near Millers Flat to put their skills to the test.

The Millers Flat Collie Club held its 114th dog trials at the club’s new location on Island Block, near Millers Flat, last week.

Dogs and their owners competed on four courses during the two-day event.

The dogs were ready to show the sheep who was boss but the sheep had other ideas.

Judging the Straight Up course – a run up the hill where the dog had to guide and direct a group of three sheep between two flags at the top – Palmerston man Lloyd Smith said dog trials were not just for the dogs.

They were an important part of good wellbeing for rural folks, he said.

“It’s the support, the camaraderie, the people you meet.”

Judging the competition . . . (left) John Scurr, of Millers Flat, assists judge Lloyd Smith, of Palmerston, at the Millers Flat Collie Club Dog Trials. PHOTOS: SHANNON THOMSON

Judge’s scribe John Scurr, of Millers Flat agreed.

“Talking to people [here] you go home feeling your problems are pretty OK,” he said.

Millers Flat Collie Club president Cam Bain said the event was widely supported by people in the area, with its strength in the people.

“There’s a lot of good community people from all walks of life [involved]nurses, to shepherds and shearers. Everyone’s real keen to pull together and help each other out for the good of the community.

“There’s a lot of fourth and fifth generation farms and it’s pretty awesome to keep traditions going in the [Teviot] valley.”

Farmers were under pressure due to changing government rules and regulations so opportunities to get off-farm were good, Mr Bain said.

“A lot of us probably live in seclusion from people so it’s good to get out and get among like-minded people.”

“[Dog trials are] such a great excuse to get off and sort of talk to the old school farmers that have been through a lot.”