Three Counties ShowJune was a busy month for me and my two alpacas, Felix and Wizard, who accompanied me to the Three Counties Show at Malvern at the weekend of June 13-14.
The event is the largest livestock and equine show in the country and it’s a wonderful showcase for British farming and our rural heritage.
It attracts big names and provides entertainment for all the family, giving youngsters the chance to look at farm animals, like my alpacas close up. I think the show is a great way to spark a lifelong interest in food, farming, regional cookery and lovely artisan products like ours. This year Adam Henson, Countryfile presenter for the BBC, and 2012 Olympic dressage gold medalist Carl Hester were the two high profile celebrities.
Among the sheepdogs, falcons, shetland ponies and many other animals were my lovely alpacas who were very popular with visitors to the show.
Everyone enjoyed meeting Felix and Wizard, and Coco Alpacas knitwear went flying off the shelves as they say – infact we were so successful we almost ran out of stock. More than anything else, we sold our hand-knitted items, affirming just how much people appreciate anything that is hand-crafted with love. I think it helps when people can see the animals and then feel the softness and quality of the wool – it’s a very tactile experience.
On the first day of the show there was a competition where alpaca fleeces were judged: these were shorn fleeces, so didn’t involve any animals. The fleece was judged according to its weight, fineness, micron, density, staple length, crimp and handle. We didn’t enter the fleece competition, but Felix entered the halter show.
The halter classes are divided into breed, colour and age. The two breeds that are shown are Huacaya and Suri. Ours are Huacaya alpacas and look a bit like teddy bears.
Within the two different breeds the classes are divided by colour and age and a champion is selected for every colour. The classes start with black and progress to grey, brown, fawn and finally white. At the end of the show there is a supreme champion for both the Huacaya and Suri alpacas. The animals are marked 60% for fleece and 40% for conformation.
Felix took part in the intermediate white class for 12-24 month old animals and we came a creditable fourth. We returned home rather tired but more than satisfied with our achievements over the weekend.
If you haven’t had the chance to introduce yourself and see our products close up, we will be in Ludlow on the following dates in July:
Ludlow Market: Thursdays 2nd, 9th and 30th July.