Suffolk sheepdog handler and TV celebrity trainer Ed Hawkins impresses judges during Suffolk Show trials
- Credit: Archant
A shepherd who appeared in television series Flockstars came first place in a sheep herding competition at the Suffolk Show today.
Ed Hawkins, from Nedging, near Hadleigh, commanded his 18-month-old dog Jess with precision during the trials at Trinity Park.
The 30-year-old, who started herding at the age of 12, said the key to becoming a great handler was perseverance and patience.
He added: “It’s not something you can get into as a small-time hobby, you have to be dedicated and if you have that natural affinity with the animals it’s something you can get a huge amount of pleasure from.
“I have bred my dogs myself. For me it’s that process of raising them from pups and the early training. Then you look back in two/three years time with a fully trained dog and see how far they have come. There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
Commentator Jerry Moloney was impressed with Ed and Jess’s performance, announcing: “That’s probably as fantastic piece work you will ever see from a dog of this age.”
In 2015 Ed, who finished the trial in three minutes 38 seconds, starred in ITV series Flockstars, which saw shepherds teaching celebrities how to master the art of sheep herding.
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“It was a good experience and it gave an insight into how dogs can work for people if you are willing to put the time in and learn to understand the dog,” Ed said.
Ed is also a qualifier for this year’s National Sheepdog Trials, which for the first time ever is being held in East Anglia, at Haughley Park, Stowmarket, and is organised by Bob Wilden.
The contest will take place over three days, from July 28-30, and will run alongside Suffolk on Show, featuring stands, activities for children, animals and a fun fair.
Bob, from Bramford, also organised and took part in today’s sheepdog competition with his dog, Sam.
The other competitors, both from Norfolk, were Megan Jenkins, who was runner-up, and Graham Baldry, who came third.
Bob said: “It was a very good demonstration. It showed off working dogs as we would want to - under control and in control of sheep.
“It’s a very tough environment to work dogs when you are completely surrounded by noise, so all the handlers did exceptionally well.”