The first recorded sheepdog trial was held in Bala in North Wales in 1873. Advertised at the time as ' a novelty', time has proved the description inapt and trials today are a regular and popular feature of the rural calendar in many parts of the world.
The sport of sheepdog trialling cannot, and should not, escape its foundation in practical sheepherding and when it comes to judging, experience and clear, practical thinking are essential requirements. Judgements can be very subjective, to the extent that decisions are sometimes seen as highly controversial; one judge might view the performance of a certain dog or handler in quite a different light from another or consider a particular fault to be of far greater importantance than might an equally conscientious colleague.
Anyone who follows a particular sport with enthusiams will know how much more it involves than the surface aim makes apparent. Sheepdog trialling is no exception and the subtleties of the craft are numerous and complex. In 'One Man's Opinion', Colin Gordon explains his own approach to the tricky business of deciding the winners from the rest. A book crammed with the considered opinion that grows from experience and achievement. 'One Man's Opinion' is the first published attempt to tackle the subject in real depth, taking every aspect of the trials course and explaining its purpose and how it should best be carried out. Essential reading for those embarking on judging assignments and a fascinating read for competitors and keen spectators alike, "One Man's Opinion' adds a brief autobiography to detailed analyses of the standard trails course, double gather events, brace competitions and South Wales Style handling.
Colin Gordon has farmed land on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales all his life, a task which includes shepherding the vast and perilous expanses of salt marsh that extend off the northern coast of the peninsula. He started to work dogs on the farm when he was just a boy, at a time when the early death of his father made him appreciate just how important a good dog can be. This respect, coupled with a natural gift for understanding and training young dogs, has led to his position amongst the most eminent handlers on the trials circuit today. A consummate handler in both singles and brace competition he has represented his country at International level, been three times Welsh National Brace Champion and one of only two competitors ever to have won both the singles and brace events on BBC Tv's popular 'One Man and his Dog' television trials series. Greatly respected as a judge, he has carried out that duty for the Welsh National Sheep Dog Trials and 'One Man and His Dog' and has been invited to judge in the United States many times. Other important judging assignments have been ISDS Interntaional Sheepdog Trial in 1998 and USBCHA/ABCA Nursery Finals, Lexington, Kentucky in 1996 and USBCHA/ABCA Open Finals, Fort Reno, Oklahoma in 1998.
Also with Austin Bennett who has been fascinated by the working sheepdog all his life. A professional sculptor, he lives in the South Shropshire Hills where he keeps his own sheep and works and trains his dogs. He has been involved in many aspects of the subject, competing in sheepdog trials at national level, judging, giving talks, demostrating with his dogs at agricultural shows and acting as a training instructor. His writings include contributions to books and articles for both specialist and national magazines.