BURLINGTON – Twelve-year-old Amalie Pratt recently returned home from the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., where she took part in the 4-H dog show, held September 29 to October 1, with her Icelandic Sheepdog, Echo.
This was the first year that the Wolcott 4-H’er was eligible to participate in the Big E 4-H dog show, and as the sole delegate from Vermont in this event, she had the honor of carrying the Vermont flag during the show’s opening and closing ceremonies.
Pratt, a member of the Underdogs 4-H Club in Orleans County, has participated in the 4-H dog project for four years. She also has shown Echo, who is five years old, in a number of American Kennel Club (AKC) and United Kennel Club (UKC) shows, earning conformation points in both as well as multiple AKC performance and fun titles.
So it’s no surprise that she was an enthusiastic exhibitor at Eastern States Expo and participated in all dog show events, winning blue ribbons in several. Ribbons were awarded on the Danish system.
In the Fitting and Showing contest, she earned a blue ribbon in the Open Division for ages 12-14. Points were awarded based on how well exhibitors prepped and fitted their dogs as well as presentation in the show ring.
Pratt also won blue ribbons in the knowledge test and for her poster and photos. The test covered general dog care, terrier breed standards, first aid, parasitology, barn hunt rules and other dog-related topics.
For the poster contest, the 4-Hers were required to create an educational poster related to the 4-H dog project. Her poster was “Dog Color Genetics.” The theme of the photo contest, also based on the dog project, was “Working Together.” Amalie submitted two photos.
For the obedience contests, exhibitors asked their dogs to demonstrate their ability to heel on leash, sit, stay and perform other commands. Pratt and Echo earned a red ribbon.
No ribbons were awarded for several other contests and activities although these helped participants earn points toward their final cumulative scores.
These activities included assembling a first aid kit according to a list provided prior to the show and kennel area inspection three times a day. For the latter, evaluators looked at tidiness and cleanliness of the kennel area, how well the dog is cared for and educational displays for the public. Pratt repurposed past 4-H posters, created for state 4-H events, as her display.
The weekend also included an interstate quiz bowl, where Pratt had the most correct answers for her team, a scavenger hunt (her team won first place) and a skill-a-thon with multiple learning stations about various aspects of dog care.
Another just-for-fun event was the costume class. Since her dog is an Icelandic Sheepdog, Amalie dressed as an Icelandic Viking pirate and Echo was the pirate ship. She also took part in the agility sub-novice class for beginners. An agility workshop was held in the afternoon for youths and dogs new to agility with a demonstration in the evening and an opportunity to run through the obstacle course.
Her favorite event was Meet the Breeds, where Amalie let Echo greet the public in the barn during down time between classes. She eagerly answered questions about his breed as she showed off her dog and her pride in her dog.