Wednesday 22 November 2017

Midlands Halter Show

When the Midlands Halter Show was announced, it occurred to me that Apple Vale Jupiter, our first cria this year, born on May 2nd, would be over 12 months old when our three local shows take place next year, which means that he would be in the Intermediate age class, and would miss competition to be judged as a Junior with his contemporaries, unless we ventured further afield in the early spring shows. So, we entered and made the trip up to the Three Counties Showground at Malvern in Worcestershire on a dark November evening - the journey was good, and it was interesting to find that breeders had travelled from all points of the compass, even from Cumbria, a five-and-a-half hour journey!

We took Apple Vale Harvey as companion, and had entered him into the Intermediate brown male class. His fleece has developed to be very dark, and the judge decided he should be shown in the black class which was one of the early classes in the morning. He came 4th in a class of 5, which contained the eventual Champion and Reserve Champion, both from the mighty Patou herd.

Later in the afternoon came Jupiter's class, in which he was awarded first in a small class - however, this gave him  (and us!) the excitement of being in the Championship line-up. The white male classes contained around twenty alpacas, making for a keen competition, and so there were eight alpacas in the Championship line-up. Champion White Male was awarded to Beck Brow Explorer, a four-year old Senior, and then came a period of weighing-up the options for Reserve Champion - Jupiter's fleece was looked at four times, and so I allowed myself to consider that he was in with a chance, however the judges selected eight-year old Hanley Hall Polaris of Alpha Alpacas who is Jupiter's sire! It would be very unusual for a Junior to be selected over a Senior, as the judge can see several years of development with the older animals, whereas the junior can only show the possibility of what he may become. The judge gave me some complimentary comments to give us hope for the future, so we look forward to seeing how he develops.

We said goodbye to two of our young males who have gone to live with a young family and their sheep, goats and geese - they are near-by, and we saw them last weekend for vitamin injections, and they have settled in well.

Soon we have our regional group AGM, lunch and a guest speaker which looks interesting, and before that, we have to decide on entries for the National Show next March. Plenty to think about and look forward to!