When Easton and Otley College students said they were interested in knowing more about showing cattle, the YDP team were happy to get involved and who’d have thought it, but we managed to organise a dairy part to the itinerary too.
Last year the College showed their animals at local shows but course Instructor Megan Jenkins was keen that the students got some tips of the trade to help them onto winning ways. While the College use Angus on their dairy heifers we didn’t have a huge amount of beef cattle to work with. Andrew Hughes, YDP assessor and freelance showman with many champions to his name in many breeds, came along to cover the beef side of things. The only haltered beef cattle the college had was two Highland heifers and a small calf, but we still managed to have a really good seminar on the subject of showing the animal to be able to move well and stand square.
Andrew then went onto do the clipping and dressing, explaining what needed to be clipped to improve an animal and what hair needed to be left on to help make the animal look wider, fuller and longer. The students all got involved and with the clipping and the dressing using various products on the incredibly patient young calf.
After lunch we moved onto the dairy side of things and we were lucky enough to have the help of Becky Walters and her sister Katie. Becky has recently had a trip to Canada to dress cattle and was also part of the winning Dairy team at National Young Stars and both ladies have dressed and shown cattle since they were little. It was great to see the vast contrast between dairy and beef dressing and showing.
Dairy fitters literally clip everything off to show the angular frame of the cow and the only hair that is left on is for the top line on heifers which is a tremendously delicate task to clip. Becky and Katie showed everyone what to do and then the students had the chance to have a go. Ring craft is also completely different, slow is the name of the game and I hadn’t realised that showing dairy heifers was different to showing dairy cows, it’s all about having one leg forward to show the udder apparently.
This was such a great opportunity for the YDP team to step out of it’s comfort zone and it’s nice to know that we have helped to educate a few more young people in the art of stockmanship.
A massive thank you to Andrew Hughes and Becky and Katie Walters.