mercredi 30 septembre 2009

GEMO 2009 St Rivoal National Competition

This year I decided to take two sheep to the show. The shows are not just about competing with sheep but a chance for breeders and those with an interest in the breed to come together, spend alot of time leaning over railings, discussing sheep and the politics of the sheepy world. If at this point you are yawning then you have missed the point of the show entirely. For those of us with an interest in the breed this IS where it gets interesting!

Solaia and Koudou were not entirely thrilled with the crack of dawn start but at least they travelled comfortably. Health and transport regs mean that the flock must meet the legal requirements including brucellosis testing, vaccinations for Blue Tongue 1 and 8 as well as ensuring all the relevant treatments to prevent any transport of extra midges or other disease vectors. A little bit of an effort for the paperwork but on arrival everything is checked.
Tag numbers, next year we move to microchipping ( plenty of discussion on that topic!)

and of course for Ouessants the inevitable height measurement, care is taken to place the sheep correctly. Here one of Koudou's competitiors looking really nice.

Entrants have stalls for their sheep, the sheep are on view to the public and there are always plenty of curious people with lots of questions.

TV was there too. This ram entered by a first time competitor did very well.

The ubiquitous 2 hour french lunch. Here some members of the public enjoying some of the many stalls catering for a variety of tastes. Breeders, many of whom had travelled quite some distance were able enjoy a good meal curtesy of the Parc Regional National d'Armorique.
And so to the judges, the judges had travelled far and wide, here along with two french judges Lawrent Wynant BOV ( Vice- President Belgian breed society) and Horst Roller IGOU ( Head of the German breed club)

And then to the showing, this guy took Prix d'honneur or Champion white ram (adult) .

and this guy was champion of champions and a very worthy winner he looked stunning.

So how did we do?

Koudou des Lutins du Montana Prix d'Honneur
Yearling white ram

Solaia (Billes) Prix d'Honneur
Yearling black ewe

I had to use a previous photo of Solaia she is extremely difficult to photograph and as usual I just got a shot of her peering out from hiding behind others, shes the second one in.

I am chuffed to bits, it is with HUGE thanks to their breeders, Dominique Morzynski once again for trusting me with one of his rams. To have taken the prix d'honneur two years on the trot with one of Dominique's just goes to show the consistancy in his breeding.

And to Claude Billes I was struck with his breeding the very first time I saw his sheep and he never disappoints. Solaia beat one of Claudes own ewes for first place but it was a close thing both were very nice . I'm just pleased he was gracious enough to let me have Solaia.

More to follow.............

The Ouessant Sheep originates from the island of Ouessant, part of a tiny archipelago just off the north coast of Finistere, Brittany. The island of terror as it was known to some, was swept by the full force of the atlantic’s weather, the hardy sheep adapted to survive on poor grazing from salty clifftop meadows. It was the women of the island that raised the sheep, renowned for their black wool to weave into cloth known locally as berlinge and their meat with its sweet and delicate taste.

La race "Mouton d'Ouessant" est originaire de l’île d’’Ouessant qui fait parti d’un petit archipel au large du Finistère, Bretagne. L’île de l'épouvante comme c'était connu par certains était balayé par les intempéries de l’atlantique, ces moutons rustiques s'adaptaient à survivre sur les pâturages pauvres des falaises salées. C’était les femmes de l’île qui élevaient les moutons réputés pour leur laine noire à tisser « la berlinge » une étoffe régionale et leur viande avec un goût doux et délicat.

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