Dream job anyone?! British 27-year-old Emma Gray is not a shepherdess; she has just become the first woman in history to win the Northumberland Sheepdog Trials League. The storied championship has never had a female winner in its 40 years. She began shepherding while helping out at her parents’ farm in Scotland as a young girl, and has been breaking boundaries ever since as Britain’s youngest in the profession. Gray told the UK’s Daily Mail:
“I am really proud to be the first woman to have won the trials and I feel overwhelmed by it all … I was one of only a handful of women taking part; it is a very male-dominated sport, so it feels like an amazing achievement.”
She studied sheep management in college, and at 23 she received sole tenancy of a 150-acre National Trust farm, which she’s been running ever since. Emma and her six-year-old sheepdog Roy took on the competition together, going up up against over 30 dogs in 25 trials over a season. Emma is now spending her days training Roy’s five-month-old puppies.
Last year, Gray published her own autobiography, One Girl And Her Dogs: Life, Love and Lambing In The Middle Of Nowhere, about breaking off an engagement and running a farm on her own. (Although she’s since found love with a local veterinarian since then!) Emma has broken all kinds of boundaries at such a young age and paved the way for other women to step up and compete as shepherdesses. And she’s just getting started.
[Image via Daily Mail UK]