Division Coordinator: Ty Springer
Sponsored by: Purina Mills Honor Show Chow
Sheep are a unique animal with a rich past and gentle demeanor. For 10,000 years, they have provided humanity with food, clothing, and shelter. The care of sheep has often been delegated to the younger generation, and that tradition continues at the Southeastern Youth Fair. Unlike the larger livestock projects that often need parental and teacher supervision with the project animal, the market lambs are more easily managed completely by the exhibitors themselves.
The smaller size of this livestock project does not negate the need for training. Although generally gentle in nature, lambs are easily frightened and require a big dose of patient handling to prepare for the show ring. The goal of each exhibitor is to present to the judge a lamb that is well-balanced and carries good muscling and thickness.
Therefore, exercise becomes a key to the training process
and many students walk their lambs over a mile each day.
In order to give the judge the best look at the balance of their individual lamb, the exhibitors work hard to train their lambs to stand square and to maintain that position for up to ten minutes. Although it is not a requirement, many handlers become so attuned with their lambs that they are able to show with no halter whatsoever.
The exhibitors must also complete a record book detailing the work they have done on this project in order to compete with their animal. The Grand and Reserve Champions in the Market Show receive an added bonus in this project: a blanket, made from the wool taken from the sheep shearing in late January, is awarded to these winners as a special reminder of their achievement.