LEXINGTON, KY (May 24, 2005) The sheep are totally steamed about this, but once again, the Kentucky Horse Park will be the site for the Ohio Valley Stock Dog Trials on June 4-5.
Approximately 100 Border Collies from across the Midwest and East Coast will herd their way to the park to participate in this event which is marvelous fun for the dogs and the observers, but tends to illicit lots of eye-rolling, foot stamping and huffs of indignation in the sheep. Although nothing is bruised but their egos, the sheep are never particularly pleased about this part of their jobs, as grazing is interrupted for what seems to them like pointless moving about.
If your only experience in observing sheep herding and protecting has been limited to reruns of Ralph Wolf versus Sam Sheepdog in Looney Tunes cartoons (“Hello Ralph.” “Hello Sam.”), it’s time to see the real thing in action. John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park observed, “The dogs who compete in this event are enormously intelligent, quick, keenly aware and highly trained. They are accomplished at moving sheep calmly, safely and efficiently from one location to the next, which is in fact a lot more exciting than it sounds. These trials are always popular with our park visitors, and we’re pleased to be the gathering spot for so many dogs who have achieved such an outstanding level of discipline and skill.”
The dogs will compete in five classes both days, depending on the skill level and experience of each dog: novice, pro-novice, nursery, open ranch and open.
While stock dogs have been assisting shepherds for thousands of years, organized stock dog trials originated in Wales only about one hundred years ago. The rising popularity of stock – or herding - dog trials has birthed new herding organizations and competitions around the world and utilizes a variety of dog breeds. In this particular event, only Border Collies will be compete, which are the most popular herding breed in this country, and used by approximately 85% of farmers and ranchers. Other popular herding breeds include Australian Shepherds and Australian Cattle Dogs.
The dogs will punch in their time cards at daylight, approximately 6:30 am, and work throughout the day until they clock-out at around 6:30 pm. Watching the dogs take care of business during the Ohio Valley Stock Dog Trials is included with park admission.
Contact Jerry Alleyne at 859-362-4574 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or the Ohio Valley Stock Dog Association’s website at http://www.webspawner.com/users/ovsda/index.html. To learn more about Border Collies, click on http://www.americanbordercollie.org.
The Kentucky Horse Park is open seven days a week, from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is $14 for adults, $7 for children ages 7-12 and free for children six and under. Admission includes the Ohio Valley Stock Dog Trials and the American Saddlebred Museum.
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet that hosted more than 900,000 visitors and 15,000 competition horses in 80 special events and horse shows in 2004. The park is located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington. The place to get close to horses, the park is open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.