Sheep dog training and trials give Justin Pinner new lease on life

It has been 16 months since Justin Pinner’s aorta burst, changing his life completely, but last week he celebrated being back at the top of Tasmania’s sheep dog trials with a win at the state championships.

The Westbury man returned to sheep dog trials a year ago after a five-year break and is thrilled he took out the open title at the Campbell Town trial with Native Rock Quin.

The handler and dog team have been training for a year after Mr Pinner bought him from a friend.

“He was the first dog I purchased to come back to dog trialling. He works a lot better now,” Mr Pinner said.

“My mate I bought him off enjoys watching me working with him. Different dogs suit different handlers,” he said.

Bernard McGlashan placed second at the Campell Town trials with Clearwater Kiwi, Martin Waddington third with Tassie’s Boof, Harry Allen fourth with TK Lane and Vicki Jones fifth with Zeefree Paris.

The improver placings were: Martin Waddingham first and third with Wakerlea Meg and Wakerlea Patch respectively, and Harry Allen second with TK Lane.

Michael Grant placed first with Fleetwood Tuppence in the novice section, with Harry Allen and Fleetwood Bella second and John Bramich third with Snake.

Mr Pinner had to retire from his job as a farrier after his health scare and now devotes the time he has between medical appointments to training sheep dogs.

“I’m unable to do a lot of things so this training is part of my rehabilitation. My health is still not 100 per cent, but I’ve got my nine-year-old daughter Mia at home with me and we’re training and working dogs,” he said.

He is competing at the Exeter trials this weekend and Bridport after Christmas, hoping to take out another top placing and add to his points before the Tasmanian representatives for the national event next year are announced.

“I want to try to get some more trials in. We’re starting to run out of places to have trials,” Mr Pinner said.

“A lot of farmers have got out of livestock to go into cropping so there’s not as many farms around where we can hold trials. We want to keep the sport going,” he said.

The Northern Championship Sheepdog Trial will be held on Saturday and Sunday at Exeter Showgrounds from 7am each morning.

More than 80 handler entrants from around the state, including King Island, will compete with their dogs in encourage, novice, improver and open sections.

Each competitor will have three fresh sheep and have 15 minutes to complete the course covering gap, race, bridge and pen.