An entire festival devoted to my favorite four-legged creatures!


I think Kristien and I both had our doubts about the dog festival, but once we arrived, we immediately realized this was the PERFECT Sunday activity for a toddler who adores animals. And for adults who are easily amused. Winking smile

IMG_0334  IMG_0378

Side note: When Henry saw that Great Dane, he screamed, “HORSEY!”  Major LOLs.



The main attraction of the Dog Festival was the sheepdog trials.  Don’t have a clue what sheepdog trials are?  We didn’t, either.  The website summed it up nicely: “Sheepdog Trials involve three things, a handler, a dog (in our case, champion border collies) and a group of sheep. The ultimate goal of a trial is for the handler to use his dog to herd the sheep through a series of gates and into a pen, using only voice and whistle commands to communicate. Points are awarded based on how well the dog and their handler complete several separate phases of competition. The team with the most points wins!”


It was impressive.  The dogs easily herded the sheep and separated them into two groups when asked. 


Fun fact – Intelligent border collies can recognize as many words as the average 2.5 year old child.


This was around the time that Henry spotted the bounce houses.  He’s really into bounce houses now. 


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There was a moment when I started to panic, wondering if we would ever be able to lure Henry from the bounce houses without a major meltdown (transitions are rough these days).  But then…


We spotted the dock dogs.  And the bounce houses were quickly forgotten.  Because, seriously, what is more amazing than watching dogs launch themselves into a pool over and over and over again?







One dog flew TWENTY THREE FEET.  Amazing.  Most went around 12 feet.


Some had trouble getting off the dock at all…


But all were fun to watch.


All we could think was:  If James was up on that dock, he would smash himself into a corner and refuse to go near the edge (he hates water). And if someone actually convinced Maggie to jump off (maybe luring her over the edge with cheese?), she would fall approximately six inches forward before foundering in the water, turning butt-up like the Titanic, and sinking to the bottom.


The Dog Festival also included an agility show, a corn maze, a pumpkin throwing contest, and lots and lots of food and crafts.


We wandered over to the farm for a hayride… I really wanted to go on a hayride, since I haven’t been on one since I was probably 10 or 11 and in summer camp.


The tractor was broken. :-/


However, the owner of the farm did let us go into the barn to meet a REAL horse (Henry was impressed) and some cattle.


That steer only got up when the owner of the farm used an axe to crack open a pumpkin.  Yum.




Kinda cute, right?


Such a fun morning!  It was a nice change of pace for these city folks to venture outside the city… Next year, we’re definitely bringing our dogs, too.  Until then, maybe we’ll practice dock diving in our bathtub.  Smile



  • Carin November 10, 2013, 3:30 pm

    You end up going to all sorts of events when you have kids that you’d never attend otherwise!

    Sheepdog trials are a pretty big thing in the UK – they even had a televised series called “One Man and his Dog” which ran for years and years – so you could watch on TV rather than go to the show. It got pretty big viewing figures!

    “Bounce houses” are called “Bouncy Castles” over there too – but obviously you guys don’t go in for the royal connection.

    The dock diving looks great – I saw a programme with pigs doing it once and they were great at it! Not sure how much encouragement/ coercion they need though…

    • Caitlin November 10, 2013, 3:37 pm

      I love you Carin. 🙂

      • Carin November 10, 2013, 10:28 pm

        Does Kristien say “bounce house” or “bouncy castle”? Either way, looks like Henry is enjoying it more than he is!

    • Sarahf November 10, 2013, 5:58 pm

      My Mum used to make us watch “One Man and His Dog”, which for a kid from the London suburbs was the oddest thing ever. Always ended up totally hooked, though, even though I wasn’t 100% sure what was happening. Ahh memories!

  • Sharon November 10, 2013, 3:32 pm

    Those are some great pictures!! The steers look very similar to the ‘Heelan Coos’ (highland cows) of Scotland!!

    • Caitlin November 10, 2013, 3:36 pm

      They are highland cows!

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs November 10, 2013, 4:42 pm

    This sounds so fun, and I don’t even have kids 🙂

    I love watching the doggie long jump 🙂

  • Jen November 10, 2013, 5:24 pm

    You need to get the movie “Babe” for Henry… kids loved it!

    • Holly November 10, 2013, 10:37 pm

      That’s what the sheepdog trials reminded me of, too!

  • Cat November 10, 2013, 5:43 pm

    So glad you guys had a great time! The dock dog were definitely my favorite because of how excited some of the dogs were. The pics you took captured them perfectly 🙂

  • Andrea November 10, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Very cool…my parents have a shetland sheepdog, which is a mini border collie. Not sure how great he’d be at herding sheep, though he is a therapy dog for seniors and for children with learning disabilities!

  • Amber K November 10, 2013, 7:11 pm

    I haven’t been to anything like that, but it looks like so much fun!

  • Melissa November 10, 2013, 7:39 pm

    As a dog lover and owner, I would so love to visit a festival like this one! It looks so much fun and dogs always make me smile!

  • Christina @ The Beautiful Balance November 10, 2013, 11:42 pm

    That festival looks like so much fun!

  • Laura November 11, 2013, 8:51 am

    That looks like such a neat event. It’s amazing what the border collies can do. I can’t even fathom how to train a dog to herd sheep like that! I think our dog would just go nuts trying to befriend the sheep. haha.

  • SuperCutePetContest November 11, 2013, 9:13 am

    I am going to look for something like this near me! It looks like so much fun. It’s great to go to something like this, not really knowing what to expect, and learn some completely new! It sounds like was a really great experience for everyone.

  • Suzy November 11, 2013, 9:57 am

    Every year I say we are going to go and every year we forget! And it’s just down the street from us.

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human November 11, 2013, 11:33 am

    That looks like such a fun way to spend the afternoon. Anything that involves dogs and a perfect fall day sounds like a wonderful time to me!

  • Julie November 11, 2013, 11:52 am

    That sounds like such a fun day!!

  • Lauren @ Peaks and Passports November 11, 2013, 1:36 pm

    This looks like so much fun, and I don’t even have a child. They have Dock Dogs here every summer at an event in Vail and it gets me every time – my favorites are the ones who are too scared to jump and have to be convinced by their owners. So cute!

  • Zac November 11, 2013, 1:59 pm

    Caitlin – we’re so glad that you and your family enjoyed yourselves! Rural Hill is a historic site and non profit farm that dates back to 1765. It seems that you met Eric, our farm manager, who fed the cows their pumpkin snacks. We’re happy that you had such a good time and hope to see you again for any or all of our other seasonal events. If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

    -Zac Vinson, Education Director, Historic Rural Hill

  • Taylor @ Singletrackedmind November 11, 2013, 2:59 pm

    My parents have a border collie and she is absolutely brilliant. You can speak to her in full sentences.

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