HERE AT Dog World, we are always keen to hear from juniors who have unusual or interesting additional hobbies and this week, we feature Sian Osborne, 9, from Jacobstow which is a small village near Bude in North Cornwall. Sian not only shows dogs but she also shows sheep! Marina Scott found out more…
MS: What age did you start dog showing/handling and how did you get started?
SO: I started showing and handling at a few local open and family dog shows and sometimes went to ringcraft classes with my mum in Exeter which meant a trip of 120 miles!
MS: What ringcraft do you attend?
SO: I do not currently attend any ringcraft classes as we do not have any near us, we live in a very rural area! My mum helps me practice at home sometimes.
MS: What breeds have you been involved with?
SO: We have got quite a few Papillons. My favourite is Darcy who I usually use for junior handling, he is black and white and is now eight years old. He likes lots of cuddles and can jump very high! I really like his mum Hattie as well. They are all really lovely. I do also like Long Coated Chihuahuas but we do not have any. We have one farm-working collie called Bill as he was called ‘For Sale’ by the farmer we bought him from! He is a pup and dad will be trying to train him for helping with the sheep and our dairy cows (230 currently being milked).
MS: What are your best results in handling?
SO: My best result was BJH in show at a South Wales Papillon club open show. My placing of fifth in the Richmond JHA semi-finals was my best there so far. I won the six-11 class at SW Papillon championship show on October 9.
MS: What are your best results in breed?
SO: My best breed result was winning veteran dog at SW Papillon open show.
MS: What do you enjoy most about showing/handling/attending shows?
SO: I enjoy being with my friends, having a day out, learning about handling and breakfast at McDonalds!
MS: Now I understand that you are involved with sheep? Tell us more.
SO: My mum and dad both have sheep and are judges (mum also judges Papillons). Dad has Charollais sheep, a commercial breed, and mum has a rare breed called Greyfaced Dartmoor. My younger sister does sheep junior handling and for her sixth birthday Daddy bought her a Jacob Shearling ewe called ‘Lucy’ which will hopefully have lambs early next year. My youngest sister Cerys wants to do junior handling next year when she will be five. For sheep junior handling I have trained my charollais shearling ewe ‘Kim’ since she was a lamb last year. I have won quite a lot of classes both this year and last year and have several trophies. Kim was scanned a few weeks ago and she is expecting twins on December 1 which I am very excited about! I hope to go on and show these next year and continue to do well.
MS: How is it different to showing dogs? What do you enjoy about this?
SO: Showing sheep in junior handling classes is not very different to dog show junior handling. You have to smile! The sheep has to be stood correctly. The sheep are shown in a row side by side instead of in a long line. You sometimes have to show the teeth but the judge usually does this in the younger classes (sheep only have teeth in the bottom at the front and a fleshy palate at the top). You try not to stand between the judge and the sheep and watch where the judge is. You have to be able to hold the sheep still when the judge goes over them which can be very hard as sheep are very strong and can jump very high! The sheep have to be walked usually up and down or around and you again try not to get between the judge and the sheep just like the ‘golden rule’ in dog show junior handling! You can be asked questions about your sheep, the breed, and age. In the oldest age group you can be asked to take the halter on and off which with a rope halter can be tricky in a hurry! In sheep junior handling even if you are not placed you usually still get a rosette which makes you feel better! If you are placed at our local agricultural shows, there is always prize money and sometimes other special gifts like Massey Ferguson bags and caps. So there is lots of encouragement but no Junior Handling Association!
MS: What can be the more frustrating aspects?
SO: The more frustrating aspects can be when the sheep is not behaving, is fidgety and will not stand still. Sometimes they dig in their heels and refuse to walk. Kim walks for me but not always for dad! Occasionally we have a judge who is judging the sheep and not the handler’s abilities.