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.