Royal rosettes for our animal care team

Dec Winslade, leads the animal care team here at the Farm. In August 2021, the team fulfilled a long-held dream with their debut agricultural show. What’s happened since? Well, here’s Dec to tell you all the news!

Hi everyone, Farmer Dec here!

Now that we’ve finally come back down to Earth, we’d love to share news from our first two shows of the 2022 season. Both were Royal shows, which really upped the ante!

Royal Bath & West Show

First, was the Royal Bath & West Show. It was an absolute blast for everyone involved, and we are proud to announce that we came home laden with rosettes.

Our results… (drum roll please)

Farmer Dec and Melissa proudly show their rosettesIn the ‘Dry Cow’ class – a class for cows who are not currently in milk and are usually pregnant – Melissa was awarded second place (out of ten cows).

There was also a ‘Wet Cow’ class – for cows who are in milk with a calf at foot. Sadly, in a competitive field, Aoife and Fran weren’t placed.

Next was the Pairs class, where the judge looks at both breeding and conformation (uniformity in the herd), Melissa and Aoife placed first!

Melissa also achieved Reserve Champion female. This means that the judge thought she was almost the best example of a Dexter female. She then went on to get Reserve Champion Dexter (meaning the judge thought she was not only almost the best female cow, but nearly the best Dexter animal at the whole show!). The ‘reserve’ title simply means that if the champion was disqualified for any reason, Melissa would been promoted to champion.

I was absolutely ecstatic with this result. Not only did it mean Melissa and I were in the Grand Parade, in addition, Melissa and Aoife were chosen to represent the Dexter breed in the Interbreed Pair Championships. This was against every other beef breed at the show, as well as all three girls being put forward into the Interbreed Championship group of just four. What a huge achievement!

Royal Three Counties Show

The Danborn herdJust two weeks later, we headed to the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern. As you may have gathered by now, I don’t like to do things by halves, so when I booked the cows in for this show, I also snuck a few of our rabbits onto the booking.

This is totally new to us, but I wanted to dive into rabbit showing because it also allows more of the people we support to get involved.

It offers opportunities for people who have mobility issues or might not feel as confident handling larger livestock. It also means that the cows don’t steal the show and everyone gets a chance to enjoy the feeling of winning a rosette.

First place for Amadeus and Aoife

Our cows well and truly did us proud. We had the usual show team with us, (Melissa, Aoife, and Fran), but this time, we also took along Amadeus, a young male which we bred in our Danborn herd (did you notice that the name is an anagram of Brandon?). He stands out from the cows – he’s the little ginger chap!

Farmer Dec and Amadeus the bullHe did so well! He won first place Junior Bull and was just pipped to the post in the Championship. We were delighted with this result for his first show!

He was relaxed and took it all in his stride. We received lots of comments from the judges and other exhibitors, about how chilled he was – a testament to being raised on a care farm!

The girls also did well, in this show’s Dry Cow class, Aoife placed first, Fran second, and Melissa fourth.

Over the two shows, we were awarded more rosettes than we could ever imagine – simply fantastic!

Thank you everyone!

I want to round off with a massive thank-you to all the staff and people we support at Elm Tree Farm, for their help getting the cows show-ready. Without them, we would not have achieved any of this.

I’d also like to thank the Dexter showing community for welcoming us to the show circuit with open arms, lots of hints and tips, and even showing some cows for us!

We’ve had such an amazing time showing our animals, but nothing quite prepares you for when you’re stood with an animal you bred, birthed and reared, and get approached by the judge with that first place rosette! It’s true testimonial to my colleagues and co-farmers, and all the hard work they put in, come rain or shine!

What next?

Needless to say, we don’t plan on giving up showing any time soon. I’m busy putting together different show teams of other animals, and I’ll post updates on the Elm Tree Farm Facebook page.