Canterbury's Stephanie Tweed has made sporting history at the national sheepdog trials in Northland by being the first woman to win a New Zealand title.
Tweed and her trusty dog, Grit, won the straight hunt event in the Tux New Zealand Sheepdog Trial Championships at Ohaeawai, northeast of Kaikohe, on Thursday after first taking out the North Island title.
She was presented with the coveted trophy late on Friday after the five-day contest on the slopes of Mt Te Ahu Ahu.
Her win shatters a glass ceiling in what has been a male-dominated sport for well over a century.
Northland Sheepdog Trial Association president Chris Robertson said 240 competitors and more than 500 dogs from as away as Southland took part in the event, which combined the North Island and national championships. The nationals were held in Northland every 13 years.
The entire sport was buzzing with news of Tweed's win, Robertson said.
As far as anyone knew it was the first time a woman had won any of the four courses — long head, short head, straight hunt or zigzag hunt — in the history of the national competition.
''I'm absolutely delighted for her, and it's great for dog trialling that she's won. There's a bit of a revolution going on. More and more women are getting involved, and there's no reason why they can't be as good as the men.''
Robertson said Tweed's win would encourage more women into dog trialling, which could only be good for the sport's numbers and longevity.
The whole event had gone extremely well, he said.
''We've had our moments with the weather but it's been mostly good, the sheep have been good, and Te Ahu Ahu is quite unique. It's an old volcanic cone so we hold sheep in the crater at the top. If you had to design a course you'd design Te Ahu Ahu.''
Robertson said the competitors had all qualified in their own club championships first so they were the ''crème de la crème'' of New Zealand sheepdog trialling.
Tweed, who is in her mid 20s, is from Waitahuna in Otago where her father Roger Tweed is also an accomplished dog trialist. She lives in North Canterbury.