IT’S almost magical watching a working dog and it handler - especially when it comes to the tricky task of herding sheep.

Now your average sheep is notoriously fickle for doing just what it wants to do when it wants to do it.

That’s when the near telepathic working arrangement of sheepdog and handler comes into play, as witnessed last week in Devon at Pennywell Farm near Buckfastleigh where the Devon and Exmoor Sheepdog Society held their annual trial at the family farm attraction.

For the uninitiated, a sheepdog trial sees dogs guided by their handler with a series of shrill whistle and short verbal commands, to move sheep around a field and through various obstacles. The obstacles and movements are designed to reflect tasks that a dog and their handler would complete in everyday work and give them the chance to show off their best skills.

The weather was not typical for August – driving rain and a strong wind to boot, but sheep, handler and dog are used to working in all weather extremes.

‘We don’t mind the weather we’re hardy and just get used to it’, explained Jed Watson from Postbridge, who along with his dog Wren, picked up the top position on the day.

‘It’s easier with the wind behind you as the wind helps carry the commands, and on a large course like this, as opposed to say a country show arena where sound echoes around.’