• Learn the traditional art of shepherding with Nij Vyas and his team of sheepdogs
• Arrival and Welcome over coffee and cake
• Meet the sheepdogs
• Demonstration of sheepdog skills
• Training sessions with an experienced Dog
• Learn to use a sheepdog whistle (time permitting)
• Please allow approximately 4.5 hours onsite
• Courses run from 10am - 2.30pm with a break for lunch (not included)
• You will form part of a small group of up to 5 participants
What Can I Expect
Learn to work livestock with a whistle on this wonderful Border Collie experience day! Collies make the perfect sheepdog and on this full day session in the Leicestershire countryside, you'll find out just how man and beast work together.
These experiences are led by the internationally renowned Border Collie trainer, handler and author Nij Vyas. Having competed in his first sheepdog trials in 1992, Nij is an experienced hand when it comes to working with his prized Border Collies. In 2017 Nij and his dog Todd where part of the five-strong England team that won the team event at the World Sheepdog Trials in the Netherlands. Of course, using dogs to herd livestock isn't just a sport, it's a proper working way of life on the farm and this day course will lift the lid on the roles everyone plays.
First up is meeting the doggies. Always up for working, always full of energy, Border Collies love their role as a farmer's sheepdog. During your experience today you might meet the young buck Jake, retired old boy Spot, leading lady Skye or even head of the pack Mac. As Nij explains, in essence it's about three species with an inherent mistrust of each other learning to work together in total harmony - and it's a beautiful thing to watch.
As well as witnessing this fine display out in the fields, you will be shown how young dogs are taught in the training pen from the age of seven months, to be transformed from boisterous pup to proud sheepdog champ. You’ll hear about their roles in modern day farming and learn about whistle commands. For example, the dog knows a long or short note relates to a longer or shorter distance. With simple, clear and crisp whistles, these dogs will perform their duties with absolute aplomb - and you'll get to find out when you have a go for yourself on the next stage of this Border Collie experience!
You won't be surprised when we tell you it's not as easy as farmers make it look. Before you know it, the sheep are all separated and running in different directions - but with a fine Border Collie full of experience, he can bring the errant livestock back into line and drive them safely into the pen. With Nij's tutoring, by the end of the day you'll be calling commands and maybe even getting the sheepdog to carry out basic moves, such as flanking left and right, stopping in the standing and down positions, as well as out-running or gathering sheep.
This fascinating and very much hands-on Border Collie experience takes place at a working farm on the lovely 750-acre Launde Estate straddling the Leicestershire/Rutland border. This superb day out in the country is sure to move you, as you get first hand experience of the exceptional relationship enjoyed each working day by farmer and sheepdog. It truly is a mesmerising thing to watch - and even more fun to try yourself. You might even perfect your whistling skills!
• Selected weekdays and weekends throughout the year
• Weekends are popular so plenty of advance notice may be required
• Under 18s must be accompanied by a participating adult
• A good, general level of fitness is required
• This activity is not suitable for spectators however guests may join Nij during the lunch break
Anything Else I Need To Know?
• Suitable waterproof outdoor clothing and boots should be worn
• Clients dogs are not permitted on site
• Accommodation can be provided upon request when booking
• In the grounds of Launde Abbey, East Norton, Leicestershire