Monday 31 March 2014
I was so looking forward to Showtime, at Houghton Hall Equestrian Centre, at the weekend. I realised that last time I had attended an alpaca show, without being an organiser, apprentice judge, or ring steward, was in 2012! And I wasn't to be disappointed, as predicted Houghton Hall, the Alpaca Stud and Bozedown Alpacas had organised a great event.
As I was going without Paul, I decided just to take four juniors, that way I could take the van and no trailer. First into the ring was Beck Brow Sunday Best (Sire: Virachocha Black Sabbath) who came third in a class of 12, behind the Champion and Reserve Champion. The reserve Champion female was won by the lovely Nero Black Truffle, who is also sired by Black Sabbath.
Now at the National show I was a little disappointed that our two junior fawns who both got placed fourth. They had got very sweaty at the National, so it was going to be interesting to go up against the same competition. Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas was given a very thorough inspection by the Australian judge, Peter Kennedy, and came 2nd to the eventual Reserve Fawn Female Champion. So a big improvement.
Next up was Beck Brow Crafter, his class included those who had beaten him at the National, as well as some unknowns. Hence I wasn't really expecting much of a change in position...wrong...how wrong...first placed junior fawn male!
We had to wait until Sunday for Beck Brow First Edition (Eddie) to go into the ring. There was a lot of anticipation about what he would do, he had been seen and admired greatly by many breeders over the weekend. Well, it was very close, the judge had Eddie and his competitor pulled out the front to compare for ages, going over and over them both. But eventually Eddie was placed second. He was penalised for being underweight in the end. However, the winner of the class (owned by Classical Mile End Alpacas) went on to get Reserve White Male Champion (beating the Supreme Champion from the National Show) behind the eventual Supreme Champion ...so near!
Now we need to try to fatten Eddie up. I was concerned that I had missed that he had lost weight. So as soon as we arrived home, I had him on the scales. No weight loss. He just hasn't really gained weight since he was weaned. He was 28.5 on weaning and he is now 30.5kgs. We knew he was slender and he has had lots of minerals and vitamins over winter. We have just had a tough one, despite introducing haylage and extra hard feed we just haven't had the weight gains this year in our later weanlings.
So I was really pleased with our results, we had some tough competition in each of the classes and were only beaten by eventual Champions. I am already looking forward to next season and showing Eddie as an intermediate (fattened up over summer!)...that's alpacas for you...wishing your life away!
It was a great weekend, everyone seemed to have a really good time, I really enjoyed watching the judging and listening to the oral reasoning. A big thank you to Jean and Stuart from Velvet Hall Alpacas for helping me all weekend. Especially to Jean for showing the alpacas in the ring with such success and to Stuart for helping me to get away so sharply...home by 20.10hrs!
Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas with Jean, awarded 2nd place Junior Fawn Female.
Thursday 20 March 2014
Sorry a very belated blog. I have been having serious trouble co-ordinating the brain and fingers since the show...typing has been beyond me. Tired but elated sums it up!
After all the months of hard work, the set-up for the BAS National show began at 6am on Friday, and for Michael, Philippa and myself ended at 10am Monday (maybe the better option than for an exhausted Tim having to drive home to Dorset late Sunday!). The show committee (Julia, Melanie, Harry, Shirley as well as aforementioned) did an amazing job. However, the amount of support we received from members volunteering for so many different tasks, was overwhelming. We thank you all.
The feedback has been lovely and so positive, in fact that would have been worth all the hard work on its own, however we had rather a successful junior show team as well.
All seven of our team were placed with rosettes from 1st to 5th. However, undoubtedly the highlight of our show was the junior white male class. Anyone who follows this blog will know how much I adore Beck Brow Explorer, and the fact that we had entered his first born cria; Beck Brow First Edition was the important one.
Well as if I hadn't enough happening, upon doing the 6am check of the hall on Saturday morning, I find a sick alpaca. An alpaca rolling about with severe colic. And so it was that the on call vet was called to First Edition (Eddie). He recovered well after a couple of shots of Buscopan and Finadyne, but his sweaty fleece looked like a rag...still what did that matter his was well.
Actually what did that matter...he was pulled up first in his class...no diliberation he was staying there. I was so excited that I nearly didn't notice when Beck Brow Bespoke got moved into 2nd place. So there we had it, only three white males born at Beck Brow in 2013 (Epic isn't weaned) and they take 1st and 2nd...ecstatic!
Beck Brow First Edition and Beck Brow Bespoke (first and second placed junior white males)
It was lovely on Tuesday just to spend time at home and catch up with our granddaughter of course. Ben had done a great job looking after the alpacas. Phoenix (who received the vitamin B12) has improved in leaps and bounds. Bright eyed and weighing 26 kilos!
Time to start thinking about the organisation of the NWAG Show now (Saturday 5th April) as well as fitting in Showtime the weekend before. We also have females due, so not much chance of a rest...hey better than being bored!
I have some big decisions to make now. We have 5 stud males and only 30 females to mate...how to share them out?? Sorry boys someone isn't going to get enough work!
Wednesday 12 March 2014
Whilst most of the alpacas are looking much improved after a dry spell, the same can not be said of Epic. He seems to have dunked himself in the water trough then rolled in some leaves. Just as well he isn't going to the BAS National Show!
Beck Brow Epic
The good weather does seem to have got some of the maiden females feeling a little fresh. There has been all kind of antics going on in the female paddocks. Here we have Beck Brow Snooty Boots putting on the macho act...with Wiseman Sweet Coco in submission.
Beck Brow Snooty Boots
It is such a relief to be able to let the weanlings out, knowing that the weather is nice. We have been rather worried about Kingwell Pheonix, who has lost 4 kgs post weaning (in December). Nothing we did seemed to aid her gaining any weight.
She had faecal samples tested...nothing found. All the same she was treated for round worms, tape worm, coccidia and liver fluke. She has had no signs of infection (temp normal) but had antibiotics just in case (naughty!). She did stand with that humped back stance, but had no signs of rickets; as in stiff or swollen joints. She has perfectly straight legs. She had regular AD&E and selenium. She eats haylage (but reluctant eater of any hard feed).
I was just about to ring the vet to come and take some blood for analysis, when I remembered that Hoity Toity had presented in a similiar manner 4 years ago. Her blood work at the time, revealed a vitamin B12 deficiency...Bingo!...she has had an amazing transformation in her appearence...and she has gained a kilo already!
There seems to be very little else in my head (other than granddaughters of course) than shows at the moment. After the National Show, we have the NWAG Alpaca Championships, then Showtime, follwed by the HoE Fiesta. So we are trying to vary the show team a little. Consequently, we now have Bozedown Campari to halter train...on top of the 35 weanlings!
In between all the show planning, I have been having the occassional excited moment about our two Windsong Valley Firedragon females, who will be arriving in the UK very soon. We purchased Cambridge Stargazer (who is now pregnant to EP Cambridge Spartacus) in November 2012, so it has been quite a wait. We then decided one was not enough, and purchased Cambridge Summer Solstice (fawn) as well. She will be getting a date with Goldmine (Stargazer with Explorer) this summer
Well, I had better get packing. I am off down to Telford tomorrow, ready for helping set -up for the BAS National Show on Friday. I think everything is in place for the show, however my show team have been rather neglected. Beck Brow Boxster is having to stay at home on this occasion, as we havent got him halter trained (whoops I think we forgot about him). Plenty more shows!
Here's hoping I get a good night's sleep... and don't have anymore stupid dreams... about Prince Harry coming and causing havoc at the gala dinner!!
Hopefully I will see some of you there. Good luck if you are showing!
Saturday 8 March 2014
A quick blog just to share our exciting news. You may already know that our very special and long-awaited granddaughter was due to be born by elective c-section on the 13th March. Unfortunately this meant that I was going to miss the birth as I would be setting up for the BAS National Show...I have to admit the thought had been making me increasingly grumpy.
Well little Henrietta Rose had a better idea...why wait...let's just arrive early. So at 3.03am today we became very proud grandparents. Weighing in at 7lbs 12oz, she perfect (yes all grandmothers can say that!)
Because I was going to be away, Robyn and Craig had planned a surprise...
The plan had been to dress Hetty in her surprise Beck Brow outfit and have the image sent down to the National Show. They are so thoughtful, they are going to such lovely parents.
Back with alpacas next time!
Monday 3 March 2014
There are lots of exclaming... "I can't believe it's less than two weeks to go"... around here. Yes, the BAS National Show 2014 has rather taken over my life of late (www.basnationalshow.co.uk) and will be all over before we know it...but more importantly Robyn and Craig will be parents before then...Granny days are looming!
However, I cant ignore the show, and on Friday we decided it was time to put in some halter training for the junior show team, and check their microchips. Only poor Cat's Pyjamas needed a replacement microchip. I got the job of inserting the microchip, and Robyn got the job of 'loving better' .
Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas and Robyn
Anyway, I am now in a state of indecision. Without consultation it has to be said; I had decided to prepare Anzac Almost Illegal for our 'for sale' page. Almo (as we call him) was bought as a young male, and it was intended that he would be a working stud male for us when he matured. However, in the meantime we purchased Waradene St Patrick (but kept Almo to go over his daughters). Now of course we have purchased Timbertop CT Goldmine. So, we have no work for Almo. He has been on loan for the past two seasons, but he is too good just to have the occasional mating. He is sired by Cambridge Stormtrooper (g.s. Jolimont Conquistador) and has great fleece stats for a five year old working male (MFD 21.5 SD 4.5 CF 95.6%).
Anzac Almost Illegal (photo taken today)
So, pondering Paul's thoughts, I hunted out his first fleece...um maybe Paul is right....it might be a crime to not use him!
Anzac Almost Illegal's first fleece.
The sun is shining today and the weanlings are loving it (all 35 of them). The boys decided to play rough and tumble...
Play nice boys (Crafter, Barnaby and Boxter)
Ow...Barnaby thinks the ankle biting has gone a bit far. Crafter watches on..."be brave my boy!"
Sunday always tries to stay out of any rough and tumble...elegance personified
Whereas Penfold has most definitely had a tumble (fortunately not in the show team..but does need photographed for the for sale page!)
Trish, who does knitting for us, has been very busy with the alpaca yarn of late...just a small selection...
100% pure British baby fine alpaca!