12year old Charlie Dumbleton has competed at local Sheepdog Trials since he was 7 and this year was the first time he attempted a course like the prestigious Deerplay Hill Championships.
CSJ’s Ceri Rundle (herself a trials contestant from a young age) says, “He was the highest placed Young Handler under 25 years and amazingly came 7th out of 20 in the final!”
Both Charlie’s father James and his uncle Ben are successful competitors and judges of sheepdog trials so it seemed inevitable that at least one member of the family should follow suit – and now at just 12 years’ old Charlie is competing with hugely experienced winners.
Hillmoor Dot, trained by Frank Cleary and given to him by Ed Thornalley was the start of Charlie’s journey into the world of sheepdog handling and trialling.
He also has a love for animals such as chickens, guinea pigs and dogs. It was through his interest in chickens, selling his home bred Welsumer pullets and his eggs on his egg round, that he saved up and bought his 9yr old bitch Preseli Del, from Angie Blackmore.
Credit is given to Angie whose previous trial successes and experience with Del have given Charlie the opportunity to progress. He spends a lot of time around the farm with Del and has built that very important bond with her.
As is common in the trialling fraternity, advice and encouragement, especially to a youngster, is very forthcoming and wise words from legends such as Kevin Evans and Ricky Hutchinson have been gratefully received.
He closely watches other handlers at trials and when asked who his favourite handler was said that there were too many to choose from but enjoys watching James Howard, David Wood and good work dogs that can trial to a high level.
With generations of farming in his blood Charlie is keen to carry on the family tradition, particularly on the livestock side. Dad James and mum Faye are under no illusions that he could change his mind at any point, he’s only 12years old and as long as he is happy so are they…
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