The Honley Show weekend is always a busy weekend for Donaldson’s as we load vehicles and head up to the showground to man our stall for the day. This year was an especially busy one for me as I was not only helping on our stall but was also trying my hand at sheep showing.
On Friday afternoon, we headed up to the show ground with the marquee to start to set things up; then it was an early start on Saturday morning to put the finishing touches to the stall and displays. This year, we had opted for a children’s theme with “hook a duck”, “guess the number of bonio biscuits in the box “and “guess what’s on the X-ray” competitions along with a children’s dressing up area with animal themed face masks.
As always, Donaldson’s supplied the official show Vet and this year, Andrew Arnold stepped up to the mark. He was helped on the stall by nurses Rachel Booth and Leah Hirst who entertained families tirelessly throughout the day.
It was great to see the huge numbers of people flooding into the showground throughout the day and our stall was busy all day long.
For my part, I spent the day hopping between the Donaldson’ s stall and the sheep showing area as we decided to try our hand at sheep showing. We have two Southdown Rams called Julius and Augustus and we decided to enter Julius in the Rare Breed Ram class.
I take my hat off to those who showed several sheep because preparing a sheep for a show is a time consuming business. I started Julius’s preparations about 2 weeks before the show. Firstly, he had a foot trim, and then a full wash, shampoo and dry to get the worst of the winter’s grime out of his dense fleece. Next I spent hours and hours “carding” him which is essentially grooming with a fine wire brush. The carding helps to get rid of matted wool, clumps of lanolin, grass seeds etc. Hand shears are used to trim the fleece and accentuate his body shape.
Training him to wear a halter (a type of collar) and walk on a lead rope was a further challenge although he got the hang of that quite quickly and skipped along happily like a dog going for a walk.
When we arrived at the show ground on Saturday morning, we were met by Richi and Sally , the Sheep Secretaries who did a great job of guiding us, the sheep showing novices, in the right direction.
At the allotted time, I donned my regulation white coat, and led Julius out into the show ring and he behaved immaculately – all that time walking him round our garden had not been wasted. He was examined thoroughly and was eventually awarded a second place rosette in the Rare Breed Ram category and we were also presented with a rosette that had been forwarded by the Southdown Sheep Society for having the best (and only) Southdown Sheep at Honley Show.