Preparing your Alpacas for a Show
Russell Nelson from Homestead Farm in Ashburton was a Steward at Shows for over 16 years he has always been around Show Animals and Showed Animals himself during this time and as such he has a wealth of knowledge about this topic. These notes were taken from a Training Day that Russell held for the Central Region.
What are Shows about :
- Shows are primarily to be enjoyed by all who attend. If you can’t enjoy yourself and be prepared to lose then you should sell Raffle Tickets.
- Shows are the Show Case of our Industry.
- Other types of farmers can see what we are up to, they can compare our Industry to their own.
- Shows give you the chance to look at other Breeders Animals, open their fleeces, with permission, and see what they are producing.
- Good training for the animals to attend shows. It makes them better animals to handle.
- You can win Ribbons, and trophies
- The chance to promote your own Alpaca stud and business.
- If you don’t show your animals then have a Trade Stand.
- Showing Animals only lets judges look at their Phenotype and not their Genotype, they are looking at that animal and not it’s Genetics.
Regulations Governing Shows :
- The Rules of A&P Show are the Rules of the A&P Association, they are not our own Association Rules For example ….. an A&P rule is that you must own an animal for three months before you can show it.
- For our National AANZ Shows, we can have our own rules and regulations and a copy of these can be found on the AANZ Web Site.
- At an A&P Show their Rules override our own AANZ Regulations.
- Regulations are the AANZ Rules of a Show and we have to abide by these regulations.
- Guide lines are only that, they only suggest what you can or can’t do.
- You can put in a Protest at a Show, Pay your Money and get your Protest heard. If you loose the Protest then you loose your money.
Arm Bands :
- These Arm Bands that are now being used came from the Dog Judging world. They allow the Judge to look at all the information on any particular animal, like it’s age and the age of it’s fleece. The animals name can go on the back of the card making it easier for the exhibitor if they have more than one animal to show.
- The First Impression does count. The judge is looking for his or her Supreme Champion long before it is time to put the ribbon on the animal.
- The “Wow Factor” ……… You want the Judge to say “Wow” as you walk your animal into the ring.
- The age of the Fleece on your Show Animal is important when you show it. The ideal age should be 7 to 9 months. The factors to take into consideration when you want to show an animal are (1) When the animal is born, (2) Take the animal to another show before hand to give it some experience and (3) The animals need to get confidence to perform properly in the Show Ring.
- The Lazy Option is just to grab an animal from out of the paddock and take it to the show. Every animal shown should be prepared before hand so that it looks it’s best when it enters the ring.
- At our first ever National Show the judge commented that over 50% of the entries had not clipped their animals toe nails.
- Show Animals may be trimmed as the Show Ring is the Window to the Public.
- Clipping is taking off some the Fleece using hand shears which can be sharpened on a Diamond Sharpener or a very fine oil stone.
- Tipping is just taking the tip off the Cria Fleeces to remove the fleece the Cria is born with. This is often a different colour to the fleece underneath. This also makes the animal look much better in the ring. This is actually better for the fleece as well.
- It is possible to burn off the medulated or guard hair off of an animal using a flame or hot iron several weeks before a show.
- Make sure all your animals have their Toe Nails trimmed correctly.
- Check your animals have their IAR Ear Tags in. If they have fallen out you will not be allowed to enter the ring.
- Check your own animals Ears and tail for any faults as if the judge finds these faults then he will not judge your animal.
- Lastly if you enter your animal “A – La – Natural” this is not a good look for the Industry. Prepare your animal as this is representing the entire Alpaca Industry.
Judges are only Human :
- The Exhibitors Presentation is also very important. You also need to look Professional to the Judge.
- Some Judges love Kids leading Alpacas around the Ring.
- Having Full Control of your animal shows the judge you have done the work on the animal.
Halter Training : “Time & Patience”
- As the Heading states Time and Patience is what it takes to Halter Train any animal.
- Reward the Cria with Nuts when training.
- Alpacas love to go on walks to new places so take them there.
- Every Cria has it’s own personality and so needs to be treated differently when training.
- Once an animal is confident they then “Show Themselves Off” in the Show Ring.
- Practice opening the Mouth for the Judge in the Ring.
- Learn how to hold the Animal Correctly so as not to stress it out in the Show Ring.
- When training the animal lift it’s Tail and run your hand down it, Feel the Genitals, open the Mouth, lift the Feet and touch the Head and Ears until they let you do this with out missing a beat.
- All your equipment must be kept in top condition, clean and fitted correctly.
- This is about how to Show or Present an Animal to its best ability for the Show Ring.
- The Judge expects to see the Animal walking on your Right.
- The Judge is looking for Presence.
- Learn how to get your animal to stand correctly, just like dogs in their show rings. You want their Feet together, head up and ears forward.
- If you get a First Place you move onto the Championship Class, if you win this Class then you move on to the Supreme Champion Class.
- The Judge is always looking for his Supreme Champion and he usually picks it long before the final line up.
Being a Good Sport :
- We all expect to Win, this is why we enter animals. The Judge may have a different opinion to you.
- It is not the “Animals”, or the owners, fault if it wins and beats your Alpaca.
- Take a good interest in the Animals that do win, go and look at their fleeces after the show.
- Congratulate the Winners.
- Also if you Win then accept others Congratulations well.
Judging Fleeces :
- It is very important when you shear a Show Fleece that you take extra care and have it in “One” Piece if possible.
- Throw the Fleece on a Table and Skirt it carefully.
- There are 20 points for weight so get as much wool into the Fleece as possible, without downgrading the quality of the fleece.
- Take out Medulated Fibre and any different coloured pieces of Fleece.
- Keep the Neck wool out of a Huacaya Fleece and if there is a coloured spot in the Fleece, take this out as well.
- If the Fleece “Breaks” throw it away, never Show this type of Fleece.
- You should aim to have a Fleece Weight of around 2Kg.
- Wands – These remove Vegetable Matter using Static Electricity.
- Combs – A Six Tooth Comb can be used for Suri’s.
- Glove – This again can be used for Suri’s to help remove any Vegetable Matter.