Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Hamilton Sheep Show
We visited the sheep show in a country town called Hamilton about 6 hours drive west from where we live.
We left approx 10am Sunday morning to travel there, we had 6 alpacas on board, all bar 1 just off their mum, and quickly halter trained. I feel it is good to take some of your best alpacas to shows, in preparation for the major shows, of the Royals and Nationals.
The weanlings when they first go into the ring, do freeze when they have to walk through an area with strange people and animals, and of course line up in front of a crowd, large or small. It takes two or three shows before they will walk in the ring perfectly, and stand for a period of time, so that the alpaca can be judged properly.
By this stage hopefully, they arrive at the Nationals, (end of Aug), and our Royal Melbourne Show (Mid Sept), and are confident, and present themselves, which gives them presence, and that WOW factor.
Also the fleece which is the main part of Judging is just starting to display it's true characteristics by about 10 months old, when it is at it's best in presentation and length.
Showing is very hard, and timing as a huge part in gaining ribbons and not.
We have many alpacas we could be showing, some just too young, some, just coming off the mums, and already stressed, so to get one at the right time, for a right show, is sometimes, like juggling.
Hamilton Sheep Show is one of the largest Sheep shows in Australia with over 10,000 sheep.
It is such a huge event that all the accomadation is booked out a couple of years ahead.
This means there was not a lot of accomadation available.
We found accomadation 1 hour away, on a 12,000 acre sheep farm.
It was absolutely beautiful place, 4000 sheep, and when we arrived late at night , the hosts, were kind enough to have a beautiful fire going, to warm this cute little cottage.
Old shearing quarters i would say, and tastefully decorated, and extremely clean.
A warm bed, freezing in the morning, -2 degrees.
But when we woke up, we were in a valley in the middle of the Grampians, called Victoria Valley.
Absolutely magic, overlooking wetlands, or a gorgeous lake.
We did not have much time to enjoy the scenery, as we had to leave around 6 am, and as you can see from the photos the sun was only just getting up.
But as we drove back towards Hamilton, the landscape changed from one second to the next, and we were just amazed at this lush valley, which would be very protected in summer i would imagine.
We did well at the show, coming in 2 seconds and 3 thirds.
An extremely high quality show, and we were pleased, seeing ou guys were the youngest in the class.