We speak to multiple participants as they attend the County Down workshop!

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11 October 2018

As we now enter Autumn, we can reflect on what was a very sunny and busy summer, with many YDP workshops taking place over the course of the weekends! We speak to a number of attendees from the workshop, Harry, Matthew, Nathaniel and Molly as they attended the County Down, Northern Ireland on the 25th of August. The workshop was kindly hosted by Sydney Cromie – a big thanks to Sydney for helping making the workshop happen!

See below Harry and Matthew Givan aged 10 and 12 years old account from the workshop:

“On my journey to the YDP workshop I wasn’t sure what to expect from the workshop as I had never  been to one before. I hadn’t had much haltering experience before so I was keen to learn some new skills and tips. 

I arrived at the farm and was keen to get started! I started off with the dressing activity. I thought it was very interesting and the trainer was very helpful, if I didn’t do something correctly he then pointed it out to me and explained how to do it properly. I thoroughly enjoyed having a go at dressing the cattle and learnt lots of useful tips.

Next was the clipping, I got to clip the head and the tail. It was interesting clipping the body and learning what direction to clip in. The trainer was very good and gave me lots of tips on how to clip correctly and style the hair.

After clipping I did washing. I really enjoyed washing the animals and seeing how to get them all ready for shows. I thought the trainer was good at teaching us new skills on how to wash and blow dry the cattle.

Next was stock judging, it was a good experience trying to find the differences between the cows and try and figure out which cows were in calf and which ones weren’t. It was well explained what to look out for after judging ourselves.

Lastly, we did ring walking, I thought the ring walking was the best activity of all. I had only haltered one or two animals before so it was good to get some more experience. Also, I thought the judge was very good as he gave a lot of tips which were very helpful when we were walking them.”

Find below Nathaniel Shaw aged 12’s account from his first ever YDP workshop:

“On Saturday 25th August a group of approximately 20 boys and girls came along to take part in the Aberdeen-Angus Youth Development Programme at the farm of Angus breed Mr Sydney Cromie from Banbridge, Co Down, Northern Ireland.  This was the first time I attended anything like this and I can assure you it won’t be my last.

The programme would not have been such a success if they didn’t have the keen participants and all the helpers to explain and show us what to do.  So, a big thank you to one and all for making this such a memorable day. Also, the fabulous weather helped as well.

After introducing ourselves, we were divided up into groups according to age.  My first task was washing.  We were shown the best way to was and blow dry the animals in preparation for showing them.  I learnt how to tie the animals up using a quick knot.  This was something I was never sure how to do. Then I moved on to grooming the cattle.  We were shown the correct way to brush and comb the animals and the direction on how to wax them.  Our leader explained about the different products available, such as, pink oil, black soap, snow foam, limo shine and black magic to name a few.  We were shown how to fluff up the tail to make it look good by back combing the hair then spraying it to keep it in place.

I enjoyed the clipping session, using the electric clippers, the purpose of this was to enhance the animal’s best points and minimize their weaknesses.  I think I will have to invest in some electric clippers for next year’s showing season.

After such a busy morning, the hosts family kindly provided us with a gorgeous BBQ lunch consisting of burgers (I’m sure they tasted like Aberdeen-Angus burgers), hotdogs, juice, tea, biscuits and lovely home grown apples freshly picked from the orchard.

After lunch was the stock judging, something I had never done before.  After assessing each animal individually, we wrote down what we thought was the good and bad features of the 3 animals in the pen. We placed them 1st, 2nd and 3rd and then discussed their faults and their good points.  I was pleased I had a number of these points on my sheet.

The final session of the day was learning how to show the animal in the ring.  We were shown how to hold the halter and how to move the cows feet using a show stick.  Paying attention to the judge whilst in the ring is also very important.  Scratching the animal lightly under the belly helps to keep them nice and calm.

I really enjoyed my day, made new friends and would like to thank everyone who made this day possible. I learnt a lot and can’t wait to put all this knowledge into practice for next year’s shows and sales as I feel a lot more confident now. I definitely would love to attend this again next year.

Lastly, we hear from Molly Bradley aged 14:

“On Saturday the 25th of august I attended my first YDP with the Aberdeen-Angus cattle society. This was hosted by Sydney Cromie and his family on his prospect farm.

The day started with ice breakers to get to know the person beside you before we got split into groups to go to the separate stations.The 5 stations consisted of different areas which are imperative for the young people when it comes to developing their showmanship.

This consisted of the following:

Washing – This showed us the different products which can be used to wash the animals to get them into best condition for clipping.

Clipping – Where we were shown how to best clip our animals to show off their strengths such as width along their back and also making their uniform for us to do them up ready for the ring. I found this really interesting as it will be something which I will now be doing myself.

Dressing we were taught how to effectively do our animals up and it was explained to us the different soaps and products available for the angus breed including black soap and sprays for shorter haired animals.

Once we had finished with our first 3 stations, refreshments were provided by our host which was greatly appreciated, we then moved on to stock judging.

Stock judging – This was an important part to add to our day as it helped me to understand further what to look for in animals when I am judging them myself, this helped me to see what is important when looking for animals which are good for breeding and potentially growing my own herd for the future.

Show skills – This was the last station of the day where we were taught all the important elements which needed to be taken into consideration when showing our animals; between acknowledging the judge and concentrating on our own animals to show them off and making them stand out in the line up.

Overall, I had a very insightful day and I am grateful for everyone taking their time to pass their knowledge of the show ring (sorry I’m not the best with names!). I have picked up a lot of hints and tips which I can now practice before the show season starts.”

We would like to thank all the participants for taking the time to share their experience at the workshop held in County Down - we are so pleased they managed to meet likeminded people and learn new skills which they will take forward with them in their bright futures!

Images from the workshop is shown below:

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