County Rally 2016 - #FabulousYoungFarmers


Yesterday was our Young Farmers county rally. This is one of the biggest events in the young farmers calendar with competitions for everyone. This year our county theme was 'Circus' and the national theme was 'Tomorrow's World' which made for some interesting competitions.

I was determined to take on a bit more this year as last year was my first year, and not knowing what to expect, I only signed myself up for the junior cookery. This year I turned up to our first rally meeting keen to sign up for lots of different things. I took part in the junior cookery again, the metalwork competition, the junior face painting, and the junior exhibit box. It's very true that the more you put into Young Farmers, the more you get out. A piece of advice I was given was to do your best in all your competitions, put in 110% but when you've done all you can, walk away from it knowing no one will think any less of you, no matter what you achieve. 

For my cookery, I made chocolate chip american style pancakes with caramelised banana and salted caramel sauce. It was delicious and I managed to come second which means I will be going on to compete at the Royal Three Counties show in June. It was reassuring to hear that the steward didn’t want to move on after tasting my dish and that the judge thought my style was professional and I worked effieiently and hygenically.

I had been working on my metal work for a couple of weeks before. The task was to produce a weathervane to the theme tomorrows world, using as many recycled materials as possible. I acquired an old bike and chopped it up to produce my space themed weathervane. I didn’t place with this competition but I scored 72/100 which I was pleased with.

I worked on the junior exhibit which was to the theme of ‚Fairground‘ with another junior member. I made a wooden carousel with painted papier mache horses, fairground cupcakes, bunting and a painted wooden peg doll and she made a fairground poster. It came together really well but there was some tough competition and we didn't place.

As a small club, we did really well, we secured the trophy for most points per member at the end of the day and came home with a good number of coloured place cards for placing in the top 3. All of the hard work really pays off when you see the whole club come together and produce some great work, even if our club tops were missing an L in our club name...

Bring on rally 2017!

My Polo Experience (2015)


We are coming into the UK polo season so I thought it might be nice to write a post about my polo experience last year.
I went to my first ever polo tournament last year, it was the Warwickshire cup hosted at Cirencester Park. We went on Father’s Day as a family day out and we absolutely loved it! We loved the fast paced, exciting nature of the game and were instantly hooked.

We couldn’t wait to go back and then we had an idea. As I was already a keen and experienced rider, I thought it would be fun to give it a go myself. As we were already familiar with the Cirencester Park grounds and it wasn’t too far away, my Aunty booked me a polo experience day for my sixteenth birthday.
The day came around and we made the trip to Cirencester. When we arrived I was excited and a little bit nervous as I had never played a game like polo off of a horse. The closest I had come to it before was playing gymkhana games as a child!
There were only three people booked into my experience, myself and a couple who had booked as a seventieth birthday present. They had never ridden before.
We sat down with our instructor for the day, Tim, and he went through the basics of the game with us and asked us some questions. We all sat and had a cup of tea together and had a chat in the clubhouse.
Once we were all well acquainted there was nothing left to do but get stuck in. We first learnt the basic shots standing on the ground with shorter sticks. This got us used to the swinging motion of the shots and allowed us to learn the shots safely.

Next, we got onto the wooden horses and had a go with longer sticks. This got us used to the longer stick and also taught us to be aware of the position the horse would be in relation to ourselves and the stick, so we wouldn’t be putting the horses in danger when we had a go on horseback.

By this point, I had learnt a lot, but I was itching to get on a horse! I was introduced to my polo pony for the afternoon. She was called Natty and she had a lovely temper. It was a little bit different than riding normally as the saddle had no knee rolls and you have double reins which you have to hold in one hand, as the polo stick goes in the other hand.
We then went on a hack around the park. It was a lovely place to go for a ride and it felt great to get on a horse. We all got very close to our horses and learned a lot from them.

We got back from our hack and had a bit of stick and ball. This is an informal form of polo where you can just hit the ball around. We had a go in walk and trot and learned that the faster you are going, the harder it is to hit the ball! Nevertheless, I managed to get it from one end of the field to the other and through the posts. Goal!

We then got to have a lovely lunch in the club house and then watched the match that was going on afterwards. It's fair to say that you respect the skill of the polo players much more after you have had a go yourself!

I had a great time and would love to have another go this year. I would really recommend it to anyone interested in polo, even if you haven’t ridden before... I would recommend Cirencester Park Polo Academy to anyone wanting to give it a go. 

#FabulousYoungFarmers - Stock Judging Competitions


This weekend I took part in my first competition putting points towards this year’s county rally. I was in a Junior stock judging competition for breeding ewes.

I don't know a lot about sheep, almost nothing, but somehow I ended up signing myself up for this stock judging competition. This is exactly what Young Farmers is, for those of you wondering; you think you’re going to sign up for the cookery competition and you end up doing stock judging, face painting, cookery and metal work, along with other things. (Does anyone know how to make a weather vane by the way?)
Anyway, the day came and I turned up with my shirt, tie, black trousers, clean wellies and white coat in hand and I arrived at the farm to take part in my competition. Honestly, I didn’t really know what I was doing but it turned out to be a fun day.

My category was one of the first, so I got my card to write my notes and final order on; donned my white coat and headed over to my pen of ewes.

For those of you that don’t know how stock judging competitions work: you are assigned a pen of ewes, cattle, pigs, horses (whatever animal you are judging), and you are given 3 minutes outside the pen so assess the animals, and 7 minutes inside the pen to handle them and make more judgements. With the ewes, you are looking for a young, healthy animal with good teeth, good udders, and good feet that will be able to rear good crops of lambs. You then have to order them using their assigned letters (ABXY) and write the order on a card which you hand into the judge. You have the other half of the card to make notes on which you will use to make a 2-minute speech about the animals.

I did okay for my first time, I got the order of the sheep a bit mixed up BYAX rather than XYAB so didn’t end up placing. There’s always next year! But my club did quite well considering we didn’t have that many competitors, we came away with a first in Intermediate Horse, two seconds in Senior Live Pig and Senior Lamb Carcase and a third in Senior Live Sheep. It put us in a good position for rally and got us all excited for more competitions. 

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