A little less travelling around this weekend to finish the workshops, but I think it took less time to get from Northern Ireland to Scotland than it did to get home from Cumbria! We started the workshops in April and the enthusiasm has been the same wherever we’ve been throughout the year and we’ve had some great young people through the programme, not to mention all the great trainers that give up their time to get involved.
South West Scotland was the same mix of fabulous trainers and good old hands on experience that makes the YDP what it is. We have kindly been invited back to the home of the Duncanziemere Angus herd at Cumnock, Ayrshire. The Clark Family are always so keen and helpful and are always thinking up new ideas to keep he workshops interesting and different. Some12 participants joined us for the day and were treated to an action packed day. We started splitting into three groups.
Brian and Ali Clark are no strangers to success over the years and 2014 has been a good one for them winning the supreme interbreed beef title at the Royal Highland Show, as wll as many top accolades on the day. Brian took the halter changing and knot tying and Ali did the clipping, making sure everyone got to have a go including the not so big attendees.
This year has seen some new additions to the bank of trainers and one of those is Alan Walker. Yet another with a great showing pedigree – winning the Blonde championship at the Royal Highland this year, but this time he came highly recommended as a stock judging trainer and didn’t disappoint.
As the different workshops were finishing we were lucky enough to have Jack Lamb to talk to the participants about feed and what cattle need at different stages of their lives. To finish off the mornings activities the Clark’s had invited along Jack Ramsay to do a halter making demo. Better known for his Shorthorns, Jack did a very entertaining lesson and showed us how he would make a halter and it was very different to how I’d seen it done before. This led to adults and youngsters alike trying to master the special knot!
After lunch we moved onto dressing and the participants were given all the different products to use (thankfully the Duncanziemere box was raided as I forgot to get some) and Brian did a demonstration on how he would do it, also explaining how you would clip and present an animal with hair – something that the cattle were lacking after the fabulous summer we’ve had.
We then moved onto the ring craft where Ali and Brian gave some advice on what they would do in the ring and then everyone got to have a go. It’s always difficult to explain to youngsters that the little calves aren’t always the easiest to lead but I guess the size of some of the show animals can seem scary.
And so we left another great workshop with thanks to the Clark family for their hospitality, Alan Walker and Jack Ramsay and we headed south for the last workshop of the year. The venue for this one was the Jerusalem Angus herd by kind permission of Bryan Ronan and Carole Stephens at Colby, Cumbria. Jerusalem are no strangers to success over the years and it’s great to be invited back. We had 12 participants join us for the day and I have never had so many seniors at a workshop with eight out of the 12 being 19 and over which did cause a few stressful moments as to qualify for the final the assessors need to see them clip and turnout an animal themselves. A couple of the seniors decided that they would join in the seminars and so we split into three groups. The seniors worked in pairs to turn out their animal under the watchful eye of assessors Andrew Hughes and Alistair McLaren who gave some valuable feedback to help them improve in the future.
Ashley McInnes aka McInnes Show came along for the day and did clipping and dressing using the fabulous products of McInnes Show Supplies. Ashley came to help us for the first time in the spring and did such a great job we invited him back for this workshop.
Adrian Johnson aka Jack of All Trades had the work of two trainers to do. He took the washing, halter changing and knot tying and the feed talk which was made more interesting with a nutrionalist attending as a participant. Adrian has helped us out on the YDP for many years and he tells me he’s retiring but I have 12 months to try and persuade him otherwise!
After lunch we welcomed the stock judge extraordinaire to the workshop. Clive Davies who used to be known for his Herefords but now known for his work with the YDP, he explained to the crowd of participants and visitors what we should look for in an animal and how to put your reasons together. While half the participants gave their reasons to Clive, the other half were treated to a ring craft demo given by Ashley. Everyone got to have a go and I always find it interesting when you don’t have enough sticks to go round whether the participants make the best of what they have or give up. I think that will be my new ploy in Junior Handler classes to take show sticks away.
It was a great finish to the year with many thanks to Bryan Ronan and Carole Stephens, Ashley McInnes, Adrian Johnson and Clive Davies. We’re just in the process of totting up the score sheets and sorting out the weekend event. This year has gone by so quickly but it’s been great with 237 participants attending 14 workshops and numerous great trainers and hosts getting involved too it such a big team effort, roll on September and the final in Northern Ireland.