Part 2: What you need to know before you show
2nd May 2017
New entrant, passionate about UK agriculture. Blue Texel and Charollais sheep breeder. Newcastle university graduate, sheepdog enthusiast & Tesco Future farmer.
Please note: the views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SellMyLivestock.
Most people who are new to showing start with sheep as they are smaller and (generally!) more easily handled than others. So you’ve decided to show your livestock, what other considerations should you make?
Who is handling the animal? If it is a young or small child, the animal should be small to match their size and enable the child to handle them correctly. A good choice for children are Downs breeds like Ryeland’s and Southdown’s as they are generally known to be good natured and placid.
Preparation time: Longwool breeds look fantastic when prepared but this takes time and specialist knowledge to get them looking their best. Other breeds are often trimmed/dyed to emphasise important characteristics. If you’re looking for something that is a bit more low maintenance, breeds such as the Texel prohibit trimming, so a brief wash may be all that is required for a show.
Class size: Here you are, at the show waiting to be judged.. and it’s taking ages. Some breeds are more popular than others, hence potentially huge class sizes, particularly at the bigger shows. So be prepared to be patient and ache by the time you’ve waited your turn! If waiting isn’t for you, championing a rare or minority breed may be a better option!
Health scheme: Many shows require you to be a part of a health scheme in order to be eligible to show there. If you chose a breed e.g that must be MV accredited, showing options are much more limited.
Once you’ve chosen your breed carefully I’d recommend you look at two things: Breed society rule books and the rules for show (for the show you are planning to attend!). So you can become familiar and prevent problems occurring. A common oversight is the need for public liability insurance, or whether your insurance specifically covers you at a show. If your livestock is particularly valuable, they may require their own insurance to cover them for injury/illness.
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