Monday, March 14, 2011

Alpaca Show = rollercoaster ride

There is so much packed into one show weekend, that it creates an incredible emotional rollercoaster ride. One minute you could be on the best high, your alpaca got first place... the next minute you almost miss a class and can't find the lead for the alpaca's halter, or the alpaca you had high hopes for does not place well or worse, you discover something wrong with it. There are times you are so busy you don't have time to breathe, then you have several hours of down time anxiously waiting for the rest of your alpacas to show. It can be pressure cooker, being at a show. I've seen even great couples get into a fight. J and I have had our share, though overall we work well as a team.

Within that rollercoaster ride, personal growth happens, along with growth as an alpaca farmer. I know we would not be doing as well as we are in the show ring if we did not attend alpaca shows like we do.

We have learned so much during these hectic rollercoaster weekends. At times we had to face truths we did not want to hear or know about. But we faced them. At times we found we were being too hard on ourselves and our alpacas, and had let unfounded fears hold us back.

We not only hear what the judge has to say in the show ring about our animals, but we talk to fellow alpaca farmers. We ask well established alpaca farmers to come into our pen and give us an honest opinion about our animals. We have learned as much from fellow farmers as we have from the actual show ring. I also watch and learn from other farm's alpacas. When a color champion leaves the show ring, I go over and feel and look at that animal's fiber. You don't know what that animal is really like unless you look closely and feel the fiber. There is so much to see and do, only a couple of days at a show is an extremely compact time to take it all in.

This weekend there were some firsts. I showed an animal for the first time. I actually showed 2. I took in a male for Ashton Stone Alpacas, and I took in our own OHVNA Challenger (who got a 1st place!!!). I'll post much more about our ribbons in my next blog post.

While overall we had a great show, along with the great highs, there were some lows too. For the first time ever I walked out of the venue, walked out to our truck and had myself a good long cry. The emotional lows are as intense as the emotional highs. These weekends really are a rollercoaster ride.

We actually had our best show ever. This is the first time we came home with two 1st place ribbons from a level IV show! We took home two 1st place ribbons at a level III before, and we've gotten a 1st at a level IV, so we've had other good shows, but this was the best we've done at this level show. And even more sweet about these first place ribbons is that they are breeding choices we made, from our own females and males we own! We didn't buy a fancy expensive breeding to some big hot shot male, and we were still able to create incredible alpacas.

Small breeders - it can be done, it really can!!

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