After attending Sheepdog trials with her father, Tracy Slater, Murrumbateman, has been awarded the 2023 NSW Sheep Dog Workers Inc Rookie of the Year.
Only having being competing herself for the past year, the newly awarded named Rookie of the Year had gained a total of 43 points throughout the year at various trial finals.
Ms Slater competed with a team of three Border Collies, Wondara Walker and Wondara Calico, which she trained herself and also Me Mate Jill, who was trained by her father, with the points accumulated from each dog going towards the Rookie of the Year award.
Ms Slater said that her interest in dogs and sheep dog trialling stemmed from her mother starting off with Border Collies.
However, then her father, Laurie Slater, had been competing in the sheep dog trialling with the families home-bred dogs from their Wondara Border Collie stud, since 1983.
"So my father did sheep dog trialling, he is retired now, he is 90 and he has probably won just about every competition there is in Australia, his got championship dogs," Ms Slater said.
"I used to take him to a few and then last year I started doing them myself.
"I competed in a few trials with him before he retired.
"I am most interested in changing up mustering practices, teaching dogs the old traditional ways, teaching them right the first time with some of my modern ways added in and passing that knowledge on as dogs tread lightly on the land and communicate naturally with sheep in ways machinery cannot do.
"A well trained working dog is defined by its ability to keep sheep calm, minimising stress. It's a win for the sheep, the environment, the farmer and the community."
The 2023 NSW Sheep Dog Workers Inc Handler of the Year was awarded to Michael Hudson, Eumungerie near Dubbo, with a total of 83 points, winning the award for the seventh consecutive year.
The award is given to the handler, with the highest accumulated points throughout the year in open trials.
But the success didn't stop there for Mr Hudson - whose latest litter of Border Collie pups, coincidentally, will also feature in ABC's upcoming Muster Dogs series in January - with his seven-year-old Border Collie, MGH Rabbit, being awarded 2023 NSW Sheepdog Workers Inc Dog of the Year, on 47 points.
The Dog of the Year is awarded to the highest point scoring dog in the open trials through the year, with Rabbit being the back-to-back winner in 2022 and 2023.
"Rabbit's an exceptional dog, she has won the National this year, she won the NSW Championship this year, she won the Queensland championship last year," Mr Hudson said.
Sired by Mocara Ed and out of Romlee Lelia (Mr Hudson's family's bloodlines), Rabbit's performance the past two years has been outstanding, Mr Hudson said, including representing Australia last year in the Trans-Tasman trial to beat New Zealand.