Thursday, 25 June 2015

My Cheshire Show - James Longstaffe-Keith

I am in Mr Fearon's Animal Care class and I was really excited to be selected to go to the Cheshire Show with the other school farmers. We took a total of 6 sheep and 2 goats to the show but most of the work started before we got there. Mr Fearon sheared the shearling ewes in April so they had grown some fleece and looked really good. We look after the sheeps hooves on a regular basis but we made sure they were in very good condition and that any of the sun-bleached bits of fleece were trimmed off. We had already done a lot of practice with the sheep to get them to walk well on the halters that we use for showing and to make sure they stood properly.

When the day finally arrived to go to the show we had to load all of the animals into the trailer which isn't as easy as it looks. At one point we actually closed Mr Fearon into the trailer with the sheep. When we arrived we had to unload the animals from the trailer and settle them down before we were able to set our tents up. After the tents were set up, we had a barbecue and ate some of the lamb that we farmed last year - it was really tasty.

The next day, Mr Fearon woke us up at 7am to start getting the sheep ready but he did make us breakfast first. My job was to show Clover, one of this years lambs. There were some people who were taking things very seriously, trimming stray bits of fleece and using shampoo on their sheep - I didn't know that you could get sheep shampoo! I cleaned Clovers legs and picked any stray bits of straw or hay out of her fleece and made sure that her hooves were ok.

I was finally called up with Clover with Ellie who was showing Connie and Jake who was showing Clarice. I had to walk the sheep around the enclosure in a circle and make sure that the sheep could stand with her four legs in a square and with her chin up. The judge came over to speak to me about Clover and I answered his questions, he was very friendly. After a bit of time, the judge came back over and awarded Clover 2nd place - I was really pleased with her and myself. Before we could leave the enclosure, I was told I had to stay in to be judge in the best in category, but sadly Clover didn't win that one.

After all of the sheep had been shown, we put them back in their stalls and had a good look around the show and helped the goat team prepare for their showing on Wednesday. One thing that I learned from the show is how much effort goes into getting the sheep there and presenting them. It was a challenging couple of days but I enjoyed every minute of it and hopefully will get to do it again next year.

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