The life and times of Jenny Holden: Wildlife Consultant, freelance writer, wilderness addict and novice shepherd.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
North Lonsdale Show
It has been a while since I've done any showing with my Shetland Sheep, but I couldn't resist taking them along to our local agricultural show yesterday.
There was only one other Shetland breeder, Mr and Mrs Watson from Ravenglass, but they had very good animals and it was a pleasure chatting sheep with them. Because this is a small show, there were no separate breed classes for the rarer types and so in the classes I entered there were also North Ronaldsay, Manx Loughton, Wiltshire Horn and Wensleydale.
I took four sheep along this time; one for each class. I made things easy for myself by taking Smali Arran, who is reasonably quiet to handle; Todhill Robina and her twins Smali Byron and Bryony, so no separating ewes and lambs or having to take lots of extras!
First up was Arran in the Primitive Minority Breed Ram. The judge put Arran and Mr and Mrs Watson's Shetland ram side by side and deliberated for ages going through their fleeces right down their bodies. In the end he plumped for the Watson's animal, placing Arran second, but he said that it was a difficult decision and that there was not a lot in it. I'm not usually a fan of white Shetlands, but this was a nice little chap; very typical of the sheep you would find on the Shetland Islands, so I can't argue with that!
Robina was up next and horror or horrors, I realised as she walked into the ring her back foot looked over grown because she had split a hoof in the trailer. She wasn't lame (or I'd have noticed straight away) but there was a flake hanging off and I ought to have trimmed it off. The judge noticed of course and placed her third, telling me that she ought to have been first placed! Doh!! Well you live and learn: always give your stock a thorough going over BEFORE going into the show ring!
The Waton's ewe who was placed first was a lovely animal with a beautiful consistent fleece and looking in great condition. She went on to get Best of Breed.
The lambs were not keen on being shown at all. "Standing still while some stranger prods and pokes us? Are you kidding us?" However, despite my joke to the judge about points being knocked off for bad behaviour, Byron was placed first in Minority Ram Lamb and Bryony first in Minority Ewe Lamb. What clever little bleaters!
It was a very hot and sunny but happily successful day for the flock. Can't wait for the next show now, I must be getting the bug again.