Late Summer 2013

What a difference a week makes, the last days of summer although only 10 days ago, seem distant.

During late summer we showed two shearling rams and a ram lamb at two agricultural shows – Wayland (Watton) and Aylsham (Blickling Park). Preparation for the shows entailed halter training so that we could lead the sheep into the ring and make sure that they stood still while the judge inspected. To start with the rams reared up, lay down and refused to move, but with time, practice and patience and ewe nut rewards we were able to coerce them into walking up and down the field.  We also spent time ensuring they looked their best, washing, cleaning and grooming their fleeces and polishing their hooves.

The night before showing at the Wayland Show we penned them to ensure that they remained clean for the show and left the 4×4 in the field hooked up to the trailer so that we could make an early start. During the night the 4×4 battery was drained of power, the trailer probably provided an earth. Consequently at 6am, with the sheep loaded, the engine refused to respond. Fortunately Green Flag did respond and the engine sprung into life within minutes of their arrival. Unfortunately we did not have sufficient time to travel to Watton for our 9 o’clock class, but the sheep show organisers kindly agreed to defer the class by an hour. So off we set with 4 sheep in tow, the ram lamb’s younger companion came as well as they are inseparable, and bleat constantly when parted. We arrived just in time for our class and the lamb ram literally went straight from the trailer into the ring. We won 3rd and 4th for the rams, although there were only 4 entrants; and 3rd for the ram lamb although there were only 3 entered. However, we really enjoyed the day, which was beautiful, and we learnt much. The show is one of the oldest in the country and is rooted in agriculture having been held for 140 years, apart from last year when it was cancelled due to sewage seepage from a nearby works.

We had a break of 3 weeks before the Aylsham Show, when we went through the same preparation, although this time the show was on our doorstep. We arrived early, and were better prepared for the judging. However, for this show the Hampshire  were grouped with all the other Down sheep, and therefore the classes were much larger, and as a consequence we didn’t win a rosette for turning up! Again we learnt much, firstly that all the other sheep on show were much larger, and had obviously had far more supplementary feeding than ours. Also ours were untrimmed, whereas our competitors had obviously spent much time trimming to create the perfect flat back. Like Wayland, the other competitors were very friendly, introduced themselves and told us it was early days and not to be discouraged. Again the weather was glorious with record crowds, and we had time after the judging to have a look around, take in the atmosphere and see the Battle of Britain fly pass. All too quickly it was time to go home.

Below are Arthur (ram lamb) and Ian at the Wayland Show