Louise Hartley reports from the new venue holding the most prestigious event in a young breeder’s calendar, the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show.
It was a dream day for Lancashire Holstein Young Breeder (HYB) Anna Stable who secured one of the most hotly contested accolades in the society on her 25th birthday.
Clinching the champion handler title, Anna, who manages the ProMate Breeding Programme for Semex, was reserve champion in 2011 and champion for the Jersey breed in 2004.
Recently moving from Yorkshire HYB after marrying Lancashire husband Tom Stable, Anna was honourable mention at the club’s qualifying round, which was also the couple’s first wedding anniversary.
Commenting on the win, judge Jessica Hassall, Wrexham, said Anna moved around the ring with ‘absolute perfection’.
Taking the reserve honours was a rising star, 16-year-old Alison Hunter from South Scotland HYB. A keen Highland dancer and hoping to become a police officer, Alison has been champion handler at her club qualifier four times.
Leading the Ayrshire line-up was Evie Tomlinson, Leicestershire, who, despite being only 14, has shown calves since the age of four and has her own herd of pedigree cows under the Allstar Ayrshires prefix.
Coloured breed judge, Tom Barrett, Buckingham, said Evie, who hopes to take over her family farm, was an ‘easy winner’ and ‘didn’t put a foot wrong all day’.
Reserve honours went to 23-year-old relief milker, Hannah Slack, Cheshire, who was champion handler at the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show when she was just 12 years old.
In the British Friesian ring, it was Andrea Vale, Norfolk, who was tapped out as champion. Working on her family’s dairy farm, Andrea, 23, was described by Tom Barrett as a ‘truly elegant handler’.
It was a joyous occasion for the Vales, who also saw their assistant herdsman, 21-year old Liam Banns, take reserve.
It could not have been a better weekend for 20-year-old Ed Whittaker, Cheshire, who was not only tapped out as Dairy Shorthorn champion handler, but also took the calf championship the following day with the same calf.
Working at home on the family’s calf rearing unit, and showing at the show for the first time, Ed is more accustomed to showing Shire horses, and was the Shire horse young handler of the year in 2010.
Standing reserve was 24-year-old Kayleigh Coole, from the Isle of Man, who has set up her own Facebook page called ‘Coole Cows’ to help promote dairy farming and build bridges with the island’s consumers.
Top of the Guernsey line-up was Heather Limond, Somerset. It was the first major title for the 17-year-old who, apart from showing calves, has a passion for conservation and recently travelled to Rwanda to work with a college growing orchid flowers.
In reserve was Laura Sales, Shepton Mallet, whose success continued the following day when her calf was selected as breed champion.
The Jersey ring was dominated by 25-year-old Becky Robertson, who has only been on the show scene for three years, but was described by the judge as giving a ‘polished performance’.
Working part-time in accounts and also at home on the family dairy farm, Becky recently travelled to Belgium for the European Young Breeders School where she was second in the showmanship competition.
Close behind Becky and taking the reserve position was 11-year-old Zoe Walters, Cornwall.
Ayrshire (T. Barrett, Buckingham) Supreme, Evie Tomlinson; reserve, Hannah Slack.
British Friesian (T. Barrett) Sup., Andrea Vale; res., Liam Banns.
Dairy Shorthorn (T. Barrett) Sup., Edward Whittaker; res., Kayleigh Coole.
Guernsey (T. Barrett) Sup., Heather Limond; res., Laura Sales.
Holstein (J. Hassall, Wrexham) Sup., Anna Stables; res., Alison Hunter.
Jersey (T. Barrett) Sup., Becky Robertson; res., Zoe Walters.