Page three A row of traffic cones had been placed in a line in the middle of the arena. Each dog had to herd the feisty geese in between the obstacles and into a small pen at the end of the course. The first competitor, a young

A row of  traffic cones had  been  placed  in  a  line  in the  middle  of the arena.  Each  dog  had  to  herd the feisty geese  in  between the  obstacles and  into  a  small pen at the end of the course.   The  first  competitor,   a  young  man with  a  handsome black  and white collie,  made his way  to the starting line.

He  whistled  to  his  dog.  The  dog  darted  back and forth  behind the geese as they weaved in and out of the cones.  One goose escaped  from  the  gaggle,  but was swiftly rounded up by the collie to join the others  as  they entered the  pen. The man closed the gate and his  dog  bounded  over  to  sit at  his feet.   Loud  applause  echoed around  the arena  as man and dog  left the ring.      

A  sturdy  woman, clad  in  hacking  jacket  and  corduroy  slacks  marched into the ring.  Her  brown  collie  gazed  up  at  her,  tail wagging  in  anticipation.  The geese had been released from the pen.  She shouted a command and her dog bounded away, bright eyes watching the geese ahead of him.

The woman shouted a command, but  the  dog  in  his haste  missed out  two of the cones.  She  yelled  at  him, he  dropped  to the  ground  like  a stone, tongue lolling from his mouth.  Ten minutes  later  they  finished  the course with  ten faults, after  missing out two of the cones. She bent down, clipped  the  lead  onto  his  collar and  left  the ring  a  frown  creasing  her tanned face.

George opened the pen and released the geese for the next competitor.  One  of  the  birds  made a  bid  for freedom  and  waddled  under  the  ring  ropes.  George  chased  after  the bird  his face  red  in embarrassment.

Several  minutes  later  he  returned  clutching  the  wriggling  goose  under his  arm.  He  skidded  on  a  pile of horse dung and fell flat on his face. The crowd laughed at his antics   He  jumped  to  his feet,  bowed  elegantly  to   the crowd, and  returned  the bird to the flock in the ring.  Jane and Sally  giggled as they  joined in with the applause.

 A teenage  boy  with  a  young  collie  dog   won  the competition.  He patted  his  dog on  the head  as  he  received  a  silver cup  from the  judge.

Lunchtime  found  the  two  girls  hot  and  thirsty.  They  retired  to  a  quiet spot beneath  a canopy of  trees at  the side of  the field  to eat  their  sandwiches. Between them they studied  the  show programme  for the  afternoon events.  

A  raffle was to be  drawn at  the  end of  the show.  The first prize was a piglet.  

‘What will we  do  if  we  win  the little pig?’ said  Jane.

‘Well  I  can  take it back to the farm,’ said Sally,  as  they  packed away the  empty lunchboxes in their bags.   

They walked  together  across  the  show ground to  the  tent and joined the queue to buy raffle tickets.  

‘Mine  is  number  seven,  that’s  a  lucky number,’  said  Sally as she  paid for her ticket and tucked it into her pocket.  

A  black  horse  trotted in circles  around  the  collecting  ring, rider resplendent in  black jacket and cream jodhpurs.  The Open  jumping  class  was  due  to  start in ten minutes.  Bales of  straw  around  the  ringside  provided  seats  for the spectators  and some people had brought their own deckchairs.   Dogs  had  to be kept  on a  lead.   Jane  and  Sally  perched  on  a  straw bale  sharing  a  bag  of  sweets.  

            A sturdy bay  cob  cantered  into  the ring.  The  rider,  a  red  faced  girl  with  blonde  plaits  urged her horse towards the first fence.  The cob  cleared  the jumps with inches to spare  his hooves cutting up the turf.  Horse and rider finished the course with a clear round. 

The End

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