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Team mates . . . Mt Peel shepherd Jade Kelly and dog Hook have qualified for the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trialling championships in Greenvale after finishing fourth in the Southland centre trial last Saturday. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

In her second year of competing in sheep dog trials Jade Kelly is on the way to achieving one of her goals.

The Gore Sheep Dog Trial Club member and dog Hook placed fourth in the Southland Sheep Dog Association centre championship trials’ long head event at Garston on Saturday.

The placing means she has qualified for the national event being held at Greenvale in May.

Ms Kelly said she was surprised to finish fourth.

“I was pretty stoked because I wasn’t expecting it.

“It’s really rewarding to see all that training finally come into place.”

However, she had “big goals to achieve” in the sport.

“I want to win a New Zealand title with a huntaway and a heading dog.”

It was the first time she had entered the Southland centre trials with 4-year-old Hook whom she had trained from a pup.

The pair had competed in about 10 club trials in the past two years.

“I’m very green.

“I’ve had heaps of help over the years.”

In the long head she sent Hook up a hill to where three sheep were waiting and then directed him to bring the sheep down to a round circle marked out on the ground where the sheep had to be still.

There were about 80 in Friday’s event and she finished last in the top five to qualify for the placing runoff on Saturday.

She was pleased with the way Hook performed to earn a score of 89 out of 100.

“The first run the sheep were quite tricky.

“They wanted to go the wrong way.”

In the final, Hook scored one point less but improved to fourth.

Hook enjoyed trialling.

“He loves chasing sheep.”

At present Ms Kelly was working as a shepherd on Mt Peel near Mandeville.

After finishing at Telford,which was then a division of Lincoln University, in 2014, she had worked in the South.

Originally from Springs Junction in North Canterbury, she had always wanted to work on a farm “but not with dairy cows”.

“I always wanted dog-work.”

At the moment she had five huntaway dogs and three heading dogs.

She enjoyed breeding dogs and training them.

“I love rearing a litter and then picking one from the litter and hoping that you get it right.

“It’s so satisfying and rewarding.”

The long head event was judged by Kent Ebbett, of Wyndham.

Mr Ebbett said Ms Kelly did well on the course which was not an easy one.

“She did a good job on a big nasty hill, not many completed it,” Mr Ebbett said.

There were a growing number of women taking part in the sport which had been traditionally a male domain, he said.