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Trials In New England?

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Hello again, I'm back after my introduction! :)


My Mum has agreed to take me to a Stock Dog Trial, and i'm rather excited to do so. However, i'm afraid I don't know much about anything going on in my area when it comes to this!


I live in Massachusetts north of Boston, I'm not sure if there are trials here in Massachusetts, I'd be happy to travel in New England but I'd prefer not to go too deep into Connecticut, but I'd be willing to if need be.


Are there any trials coming up that you would recommend? By coming up, I don't mind waiting til Fall. I'd prefer waiting longer over travelling farther, if it helps.

I will continue to hunt around and see what I can come up with.


Also, any advice for attending a trial? I'm all ears, as I'm a total newbie to all of this and eagerly awaiting any tips! :P


I hope this is the right place for such questions. :huh:


Thanks in advance!

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Check two places - the United States Border Collie Handlers Assn website (go to the sheepdog page and then to upcoming trials) and the Northeast Border Collie Assn website (check their upcoming trials or trial schedule). Both sites should list trials coming up this year and you can just see what might be close enough to you. I don't know about Massachusetts but there are active trialers and a series of trials in the New England area, so you should be able to find something.


Good luck and enjoy!

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For attending -


Dress for the weather, with layers, and prepared for rain, snow, sun, etc. Trials go on no matter what (almost). Don't forget boots, raingear, a suitable hat and sunscreen.


Bring your own chair(s).


Bring your own food/snacks. Some trials offer food for purchase (oftentimes a local church or other organization will do this as a fundraiser); some are near a food source; and some are out in the boonies and it's definitely bring-your-own.


Sit down, keep quiet, and listen. You will learn a lot. Folks in the gallery (watching) will often be glad to explain what's going on and so forth but never stop a handler who is waiting to run to ask questions or chat. They tend to be very focused on their upcoming run. Often, once they are done and the dog is cooled off and put up, they may be quite happy to chat.


Introduce yourself to anyone who's friendly (and many are) and pay attention to what's going on on the field. You'll learn a lot (I said that once but it's worth repeating).


Best thing to do is to contact the trial host(s) (info on the above-mentioned websites) and offer to help - volunteers of any (or no) level of experience are often welcome and, if nothing else, the offer will be appreciated even if they can't use you this time.


Most parking is in fields so if the weather's been wet, make sure your vehicle can handle a little bit of mud.


Dogs are generally welcome - check first with the trial host. But, they must be well-behaved, quiet, and totally under control. Be prepared to pick up after your dog, at least around the areas where people are walking, sitting, etc. Out in the area where dogs are walked, that's not usually done. If you are not sure, don't bring your dog the first time you go. Besides, your nice and calm (at home) dog may turn into a voracious predator at the sight of sheep and dogs working.


In general, just be considerate and you'll be fine. Enjoy!

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There is a trial coming up in May in NH at the sheep and wool festival. Stop by and say "hello." I will be running a couple of dogs. The only downside to that trial is that pet dogs are banned from the fairgrounds, so you can't take your Border Collie along (not a good idea at your first trial anyway). At that trial there are real bathrooms and vendors with good food, which is not common.


PS, you are going to have to drive some distance for any trial, but New England has the highest density in the USA.

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Thank you both for the answers, very informative! :)


I don't have a dog (yet ;)), so no concerns about trials that don't allow dogs.


We're quite used to driving up to eight hours round trip for all kinds of things, so I/My Mum really don't mind distance driving as long as it's not too extreme. Once again, thanks for the great replies.


Looking at the lists of trials, I'm hoping to go to a trial this Spring and maybe another in the Fall. :)

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I take my own hand sanitizer along, because there isn't always some available in the portable facilities. ;)


A list of supplies for humans I take with me includes...


folding chair

sun screen


sun glasses

layers of clothing

rain suit

waterproof boots

change of socks


bottled water


paper towels

hand sanitizer


GPS and good directions to the trial (because GPS may get it wrong in a rural area)

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Thanks for the list, GPS and directions both are very important-it's not good to have just one, been there, done that, got disqualified for being late. B)


My top choice the trial you named, the one at the sheep and wool festival in NH.

I think my Mum will go for it, my birthday's on the Monday after so maybe that can be my birthday present.


If that won't work, MA Sheep & Woolcraft SDT and CT Sheep & Wool Festival SDT are my other options, I can't really justify dragging my Mum out to ones over 4 hours away, I think that's a little cruel to the driver.


I'm hoping my scheduling works out for the NH trial, it'd be nice to know I'd have one person there who I could run into, and it's only an hour and a half away, which is about my daily commute time anyway.


It figures the one in Massachusetts would be so far west that it'd take longer to get there than New Hampshire or Connecticut, after me thinking it would be the shortest distance. :P


Definitely hanging onto the lists of stuff to bring you guys made-don't want to be unprepared!

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I will be at as many trials as I am able to attend, but work keeps me busy and gets in the way sometimes. :rolleyes:


PS, if you are interested in the festivals as well as the sheepdog trials, the NH fair is the largest. CT is quite small.

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