Show Biz Down Under

We finally made it to the Show ring after a couple of months of refresher and training sessions. Four Miniature Herefords and their young school-aged leaders performed very well against stiff competition from the popular Highland and Dexter cattle along with Red Polls. We came home from two local shows with 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings plus Reserve Champion ribbons accompanied by wide smiles on the kids’ faces. I washed all the cattle the night before but on Show Day the young people put their hearts and souls into grooming their particular animal to perfection. Although I admire the way your animals are presented in the US it is only at the bigger shows in NZ that extensive clipping or shaving is done. For our smaller shows we just trim the hair around the ears, tidy the topknots and level the tails otherwise the animals are in natural (but clean) condition. Maybe if we ever make it to the “big time” we will have to rethink our presentation programme. In the meantime I am working on designing a natty uniform for the kids. The white t-shirts were cool in the hot, humid weather but not very practical.

A spin-off from the showing was that a number of youngsters who were watching approached me later and asked if they could take part next season. The small size of the cattle appealed to them because they can then do what the adults do with the bigger animals. This impresses parents as well so we are helping a new generation into the world of breeding and showing cattle and it doesn’t matter whether they are rural or urban children – this way they have an equal chance to participate. NZ badly needs young people in the agricultural sector but with so many restrictions in place for farm ownership and operation it is becoming a costly business many cannot afford. Agriculture is our country’s main industry yet it lacks the support from the powers that be to continue being a prime producer and we are losing valuable experience handed down the generations through an exodus of bright young people overseas.

Now for a different kind of show. Final preparations are being completed for the Virtual Cattle Show for Miniature Herefords. Closing date for entries has been extended to May 31st, 2011 with judging and results out in June. To obtain all the information for this go to the Australian Miniature Hereford Breeders Network website There have been a few changes to the original schedule. The grooming tips were just that – tips. We realise many cattle may not have been halter trained so to approach them with a hose and a brush might have unappreciated repercussions! Most of us over here will be photographing our animals while they are out in their paddocks. It has been suggested perhaps three photos be taken of each animal entered – side-on, front-on and one from the rear – a sample will be on the AMHBN website. Be careful when photographing front-on as the head can appear rather big. It is probably better to have an angle to the photo (see the section on photographing hints). A checklist has also been added so you know whether you have completed the relevant parts for the entry. For any enquiries please contact me on and I will be happy to help you.
Janet Poole,
Riverlets Miniature Herefords,

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