Youth Development Programme: South-East England Workshop

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23 May 2017

On the 13th May, our Youth Development Programme saw participants attend the South-East England YDP workshop, which was hosted by Rob and Alan Bishop of the Warrenho Aberdeen-Angus Herd. One of those present was Jess Elliman, and she’s written her account of the day for us!:

‘’On the 13th May 2017 I attended the South-East England YDP Workshop, this was my second year attending it, after finding out about it through Berkshire Young Farmers.

I’m currently at Sparsholt College studying the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture. I’ve always been very keen on Stockjudging in YFC from the age of 12, but never done anything with cattle showing, as I’ve never been given the opportunity, but due to YDP I feel like I have potential and feel enthused about cattle preparation and showing techniques. I’d love to have more experience and do it more often, if given to opportunity.

The workshop was hosted by Rob and Alan Bishop - Warrenho Angus. The day started off with an introduction of ourselves. All 34 participants were then put into groups based on our age.

My group’s first seminar was halter making with Graham Fishlock. Graham made this look very easy as he’s had many years of experience, but after a bit of chopping and undoing I did get the hang of it. I now have a useable halter. I do feel I’d be able to make another one, if needed.

My second seminar was with John Reynolds, this is my favourite, dressing the cattle. I learnt a lot in this because it was all about how to apply and get the effect on the right bit of the coat of the animal, using different products. I have to say my favourite was the foam and soap, as it doesn’t harden too quickly, and I think it gives a better shine and evenness. John was very good at instructing how to get the desired effect without doing it for you, which means we could experiment and see what we preferred. 

My third seminar was clipping with Jimmy McMillan, during which I also learnt a lot. A useful tip he gave us was to put our finger underneath the clippers so we could keep an even length when just taking off the ends of the coat. Also to keep our back towards the back end of the animal so you don’t get kicked in the face!

The fourth seminar was stock judging with Ruth Perry. This was judging breeding bulls which was new for me as I’m used to judging finished beef, not for breeding potential. It was still similar as you’ve got to take into consideration height, width, depth and masculinity. I found this seminar beneficial as it will help me with my stock judging with YFC (Young Farmers Club). Ruth was also good at giving feedback, and helping the group with the use of descriptive words and comparing them to each other.

My fifth seminar was halter swapping and knot tying with Rob Bishop. This was useful to learn how to swap halters, this would be useful at shows when you need to put on the ring halter, from the normal halter. He also taught us how to tie the quick release knot, and Tom Beadle showed us how to safely wash and dry the animal before applying products to the coat.

Finally Mary Reynolds got seniors to show how to incorrectly show cattle in a ring, then do it the correct way. All participants then got a go at walking an animal round, and standing the animal with the correct feet positon and halters held right. We also learned about your own presentation, by looking at the judge and keeping eye contact without looking overly ‘cheesy’!

Mike Kirby and Mary Reynolds were also assessing us throughout the different seminars which was great, and I’d also like to thank Gayle Bersey who organises these fantastic workshops throughout the country.

I hope to spread the word and tell more of my friends how wonderful the day is and how much I’m learning, and hopefully I’ll get better and more confident each year.’’  

Here's a selection of photos from a great day at the workshop:

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