Montpelier Fiber Festival
Then there were the sheep dog trials. The dogs were so alert and ready to show off their skills. The sheep were so ready to be, well, sheep. They stuck together and tried to avoid the herding by the dog. Two dogs out of five I saw were able to perform the entire course. This involved a fast run from the starting pole around the field to the back section where three sheep waited. Then the dog had to herd the sheep straight up the field to the handler, following his/her directions given by verbal command or whistles. After circling a pole behind the handler, the sheep had to be herded through a course between fences and back to the starting pole, then into a pen. The last test for the dog was to separate one sheep from the group. The commentator told the crowd that all of these feats are contrary to the natural instincts of the dog. Their goal is to bring the sheep to their master, not move them away from him or her, and it is also their goal to keep the sheep in a herd. Separating one sheep, the one designated by the handler, was the toughest job of all. Two dogs did it masterfully. What a fun day in Orange County for a new adventure.