lundi 26 août 2013

GEMO Concours National 2013

Vaillant Ewes
This year the National Competition for Ouessant sheep took place at Brécé - Ile et Vilaine. Not too far from home. It was good to see the return of Patrice Royer's sheep to the competition  after three years absence.  It was also good to see some of the newer breeders return once again, surely bitten by the bug. There was a high standard overall and a good entry of over 100 sheep. A significant change this year is the option to bring sheep who aren't entered for the competition but who can still be examined for a certificate of conformity to the standard.
With limited places available and a high standard of sheep in general it can be hard to provide encouragement to newer breeders and reassure them of the standard of their sheep if they are not in the select group of prize winners. The certificates of conformity provide not just breeders but prospective purchasers with the assurance that they are buying sheep that can be considered of the breed.

I chose only two sheep to take this year both home bred, one for the competition and one for a certificate of conformity. Lets just say I wasn't disappointed on either score. I'll post a selection of photos from the day in due course. For now just a couple of candid shots.

Hercules Ballentyne - arriving in style

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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