Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Barn Blind or Not

Barn Blind = when you spend so much time in your own barn with your own alpacas and think they are so incredibly wonderful you can't imagine them not doing well in the show ring.

This is a very common phenomenon with new breeders - which makes sense, how can you know when what you have at your farm is often all you do know? It also can happen with more experienced breeders, especially if you don't go to alpaca shows and see what the new generation of alpaca looks like.

I admit at our first show we had a terrible case of being Barn Blind. And I will also admit, it's devastating. Since then I've seen it happen to other new breeders at shows and I have to say my heart goes out to them. It's so hard to see this alpaca that you have cared for and loved and think is so wonderful do poorly at show. How could this happen to your baby?

By our second year in the show ring we flipped to being the opposite of Barn Blind. That year we took Shelby and Tehya as juvis to the shows. For those that remember these girls, their sire is the famous NWA, LTD Accoyo's Goldsmith. The short of the story is that I had myself convinced that these girls weren't good enough to compete, only to have them do fantastic.

Every year I struggle to find a balance between loving these creatures, to being realistic about their good qualities and their not so good qualities.

This year we have 5 yearlings going. All 5 have done well in the show ring, so we have some foundation to base their potential on. Challenger, Twilight, Rose and Gabe have all received at least one 1st place (Rose and Twilight each have 3 1st place ribbons!!). Chaska had held his own in 2nd and 3rd place typically (while not 1st, still a great showing).

I have faith that our juvis, Lady Bing and Shamballa should do fantastic in the show ring. We hand picked these alpacas to buy because we felt strongly that they are what we want for our breeding program. They have the typey look, and when you open their fiber ~ WOW!! Definite brightness you can feel! They are the whole package. The bigger unknown is Thunder and Dutch.

For Thunder my assessment is that his fiber is fantastic. He has brightness, shine, beautiful crimp and bundles. He has an amazing bright color. He fits our definition of brightness you can feel. Plus, he has a good balance of fineness and density. However, he's at a strange growth place, which may or may not affect him in the show (ie: his chest isn't as broad and manly as I'd like). Dutch is a perfect example of a quality alpaca, without a wow factor. She doesn't have the perfect typey look (not the wooly face with a huge top knot) and while her fiber is nice (fine with some density, nice crimp, bundles and a healthy shiny brightness), it's nothing that we open up and ooh at. She's a perfect foundation animal, with everything there, just needs to add some pow to her offspring for that wow factor. How she will place in a show all depends on who else is in her class. If there is one with that wow factor, they will out shine her.

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