Farming is inherently expensive business, requiring huge investment in livestock, costly machinery, veterinary care and feed, not to mention putting a great deal of faith into the weather (a bad year can put a farm out of business). This translates to livestock showing too, and as first-timers we had quite the bill on our hands! Showing isn't simply about turfing your best animals out of the field and into the ring, but about months of careful preparation - and in our case, investment in a brand new jet washer and cow blow-dryer (yes really).
The atmosphere at the show on prep day - before everything is opened to the public - is quite relaxed, but the following morning it's buzzing with energy and the sound of blow-dryers. Breeders and handlers are up at 5am to start washing and grooming their animals, which, with a huge heft of a cow or bull, is quite the task. First the animals must be brushed from tip to toe, and get a little trim wherever necessary. Then it's off to the cow wash (yes, we sung the song too) for a full shampoo, then back to the sheds for a blow-dry with the aforementioned cow dryer. Owners will have performed this grooming ritual more than ten times in the run up to the show, and when the animals step into the ring they're as shiny and sweet-smelling as any L'Oréal advert (and they really are worth it too!).
Here's what goes on. Anyone want to lend us a hand next year?
|Kit box, full of all the brushes, lotions and potions needed to spruce up a cow!|
|The cow wash; hundreds of cattle pass through each show, often 2-3 times (before each day's showing)|
|Even the calves must be cleaned up|
|Heave-ho! Getting this big fella clean is no easy task|
|Nicky Luckett and her prize bull Lohengrin. Nicky sold us our infamous bull Dynamo over 7 years ago, |
and he's still going strong today.
|London Operations Manager, Mable, is shown how it's done by Jim|
|Don't forget the tail!|