Each year is the ending for some and the beginning for others. Just when you get your cows right where you want them to be, it is time for them to graduate from the show circuit and you get to start all over again with a new set of cows.
Last month, N.A.I.L.E. marked the end of the show life for Rain and Six but was just the beginning for our new show herd.
Calving season is such an anxious and important time of year for us. Not just because we are busy making sure that we have healthy calves, but it is also the time that we have to ensure we have cows to restock our show circuit.
We have struggled the past several years with getting our cows back onto a spring calving schedule. This is not just a preference anymore, but it can also make a difference in how competitive we are in the show ring.
In early June, Isaac's cow, Annabelle, had her first calf and it was a heifer.
He was so excited.
Not only was this his first calf, it was the first calf that he was able to help pull.
Amber was born a little later than we would like for the show circuit, but we didn't have much choice but to go with the flow.
Isaac's show heifer for the year was taken care of.
Amber won her class at Louisville, but the judge thought that she was too clubby.
She is very wide and beefy.
Some judges like it...and some don't.
We don't have a large herd, so every heifer really counts. We now have 2 boys showing, so we have to make sure that we have 2 eligible show heifers each year.
This Spring we were getting nervous. We only had one early calf and it ended up being a bull calf. We have had several heavy bull years and weren't especially confident that we would get heifers out of the cows that we really wanted for show stock.
We have also learned that it can take a lot of time to find that perfect cow. It took us 2 years to get Six here to our farm.
If we have to spend money on a cow, we want to make sure that we are buying the best animal for our farm. There is always the balance of trying to find an animal that will win in the show ring and one that will also add the genetics to your program that will grow and change your herd.
We decided to buy one heifer from the same farm as we purchased Six last year. We really like the J Cross genetics and are trying to add some specific traits to our herd.
In true Daniel fashion...he bought two cows instead of one.
It is always hard to buy cattle on the other side of the country without seeing them first. Daniel and Arlou spent hours and hours on the phone making sure that our 2 girls would be the right fit for our farm.
We knew going into this year that neither of these calves were as special as Six, but we all agreed that Charity and Saxon needed to be on our farm.
Within several days of the new girls arriving from Washington, we knew that Charity was something special.
Since Isaac got to show Six last year, we let Walker have the first choice of the new calves. He chose to show Charity this year.
We knew we had a chance when our fitter called her "freaky." Daniel and I looked at each other and asked if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
He said a really good thing.
We can't wait to see how she matures.
Charity started out the show season on the right foot by winning her division in Louisville.
At the first BEST show she won Grand in ring A and Reserve in ring B.
This weekend she won Grand in both rings.
Saxon is a really nice cow...but she is no Charity.
We weren't really sure how she would stack up in the show ring. The main reason we bought her was for the cow that she will become and hoped to have her tag along on the show circuit with us.
She is holding her own and was Reserve Division Champion in Louisville.
We did end up having another heifer this year.
After much deliberation and doubting, we decided to sell Bee. We couldn't justify, or afford, to show 4 cows this season and we needed the money to help pay for the two from Washington.
Bee is a completely different cow than Amber. Bee is much more feminine.
Amber and Bee will be going head to head in the same class this show season. It is going to be interesting to see how the judges place them.
The show season is just beginning.
The year is always full of surprises.
Some of the cows that you think are going to excel...don't, and some that you overlook end up rising to the top.
It is always fun to watch them grow and mature and settle into their place in the show ring.
Sometimes you can't wait to send a cranky cow out to pasture and sometimes it is with great regret that you retire a cow to the pasture.
Here's hoping we have a season full of good surprises.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.