My husband and I decided to bring our young calves, Red and Rusty, to the local fair, Ossipee Valley. It is probably the smallest fair in the state and is only a fifteen minute drive to our house, so it was the perfect place to get the babies out for their first ever fair. The idea behind purchasing these two was to have a pair to play around with for the year and then sell them at the end of the fair season in October. We already have someone who wants to buy them after seeing them at Ossipee, so I suppose our plan will work out (and I made my husband PROMISE not to sell them out from me beforehand)!
Of course, all self respecting horse girls have to plan for a matching stall valance, name signs, and farm sign. I mean, c'mon! ;-) I had all spring to brainstorm and I think it looked cute! I also repainted an old wooden trunk of mine (green, of course) and added a brass nameplate to the top engraved with our farm name.
The fair lasted from Thursday to Sunday, which meant we brought them calves over on Wednesday night to get them settled in. They were surprisingly easy going about the entire thing. My husband had to work Thursday and Friday, so I knew it would be slightly crazy for me to do chores at home and get over to the fair for the day with two children in tow! But we all managed and the baby did a great job taking afternoon naps at the fair in his reclining stroller and sleeping well at night!
There was nothing for us to show in until the weekend as well, so Thursday and Friday were a lot of cleaning them out and walking around the fair a bit. My husband wanted to do the scooting contest, which means we also had to show them in the best pair, best matched, and working classes. But of course, he doesn't like to show any longer, so that would be up to me. I have only ever shown his cattle once back in 2014, so I was pretty nervous LOL!
|The baby LOVED watching the 4-H kids get ready to show on Friday!|
|We had to sit on nearly ever single one of the tractors on display (this was Wednesday night, so my husband is right there holding him)|
|A good farmer always keeps his cattle cleaned out!|
|The little red wagon came in handy for carting him around!|
My husband did the scooting contest on Saturday afternoon, which is basically like a cones course for driving horses. The cattle are hitched to a wooden scoot and you have to do the course in the right order, going through each of the "gates" between the cones in the right order. You get penalty points if you hit a cone or make certain mistakes (for example, my husband missed a "gate" when weaving through the cones, which added 40 penalty points and he hit two cones, adding 10 points for each cone). Then at the end, when you halt on the line, they measure how close you stop the runners to the line and add inches to your penalty score. My husband halted it right on the line, so he ended up with 60 penalty points. You are timed as well, but they only use the time to break a tie as needed.
He had to go first, as they go by weight, so we had to wait over two hours for the class to finish before we knew the results. He ended up fifth out of nineteen pairs, which was great! Had he not missed the gate, he may have won, as the first place finisher had 24 penalty points. Oh well! Great work for the first time the babies ever did something like this at a fair.
Then it was my turn to show on Sunday morning. I was super nervous because they were definitely a bit bright eyed when walking around the fairgrounds, and I just wanted them to have a good experience (aka not run away from me hahaha). It is so strange to me that you show them with just a stick, voice, and body cues, because I am just so used to being attached to a horse with reins or a lead rope.
Honestly, they were both perfect for their first time. Yes, they almost exited the ring in the first class when we were asked to line up right in front of the open end (both ends of the small covered ring were wide open!) but thankfully they listened to me. I had a hard time getting them to back perfectly straight between two cones in the working class, because it is just an unnatural thing to ask cattle to back up plus I haven't put enough time into them just yet. They are young and it will just take more time.
We placed second in both best pair and best matched (out of five teams in our weight category) behind two different pairs of much more mature cattle. I was super impressed! For these two classes, you just stand there in the line up, like a halter class for horses. I think the judge did ask us to back in the second class, but it was in the line up and only a few steps.
The working class was a super simple pattern of doing a figure eight around two cones (to show "haw" and "gee" turns) and then backing through two cones. The figure eight was easu but I did have to do a little correction in backing up. Red (the nigh calf) likes to step out sideways when backing, so I had to stop and have him straighten out a few times. I was ok with that since it was more important to give them a good experience and school them in the pattern as needed. Out of five teams, with everyone else a much more experienced driver than me, I had no problem not placing. But to my utter amazement, we placed third! Yay!
|You stay right in the ring for all three classes back-to-back, so I had to stick my ribbons on my back pocket haha!|
|While the fair paid out to fifth place, they only gave out 1st and 2nd place ribbons in the show classes (but a full 1-6 ribbons in the scoot), so we were not given a third place ribbon. Ah well!|
|I think this is my favorite pic of the fair!|