By Gala Pearson, Block 5
For part of our Outdoor Work BAC, a group of four of us – Etty Bratley, Lila Levingston, Sasha Arney and me – are doing sheep husbandry. As part of this, we have been looking at a year in the life of a sheep, which includes worming, feeding, breeding and shearing them.
One of the highlights so far has been preparing for the Alresford Show, which was held on the first Saturday in September. In preparation for the show, we spent a lot of time halter training the sheep. We also had to bathe, trim, dag and brush them to get them ready for the ring.
On 7 September, we woke up early to load the sheep into the trailer and set off for Alresford. When we arrived, we herded them into their pens and did the final touch-ups, brushing off any excess dirt.
First up was Etty, who was entered in the ewe lamb class. Competitors were asked to line up and judges went round to each sheep to judge configuration, teeth and wool. After that, the judge wanted to see whether the sheep was tamed on a leash by walking it around the ring.
Following this, we also did a few more classes – shearling ewe, older ewe and a pair of shearling ewes. These didn’t go as well as they could have as the Southdown sheep were very stubborn. However, the pair of ewes (the Herdwicks) went very well, and Sasha and Gala came in fourth place. After all these classes, Etty entered the young handlers, which went really well – she came second!
By this point, we had been there for nearly ten hours, so decided to finish the day with the grand parade. This involved most cattle, cows, goats and sheep. We all got into one big line and walked around the main ring a couple of times, showing off to the public. This was everyone’s favourite part of the day because we led the parade. Even with all the ups and downs over the last year, the Alresford Show was a fantastic experience.