A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 4, 2007

Back Home Following a Great Experience

I arrived back at home Tuesday evening after a long day and a long drive.  I was up at 5 a.m. Central Time (4 a.m. Mountain Time) that morning and so was ready to just relax once I made it home, of course I first had to get smothered by the dogs who were happy to see me and check on the alpacas.  Carissima and Zeus ran up to me while the rest of the herd contentedly chewed their cud, everyone looked good and Carissima and Zeus decided to entertain me with some cria races, which Velvet, Blast and Athena decided to join. 

The Compliance Check Clinic in Shawnee, Oklahoma was a great experience, very educational and a good opportunity to discuss various show situations with other alpaca breeders at the clinic.  It was also wonderful to meet Connie Alexander, the AOBA Show Division Administrator, in person.  Ric and I have both talked to Connie numerous times on the phone and so it was great to finally meet her in person.  Connie is dedicated to her job and has always impressed us with her knowledge of the AOBA Show Rules.  It was apparent from Connie’s class that part of the reason for her success at her job is that she loves the work she is doing.  Thank you Connie for a great class! 

Volunteering at the Judges Oral Reasons Clinic was a great experience.  Watching the judges taking part in the education process gave us volunteers a greater appreciation for all that an AOBA Show Judge goes through to obtain their certification.  We also started to appreciate how tiring the work of an alpaca show judge can be.  We only had to stand with alpacas through Monday afternoon and part of Tuesday morning and we were more than ready to take a break on both days.  An alpaca show judge is usually on his or her feet for two full days of judging, not only standing but making decisions about the alpacas in the class and then deciding on the oral reasons that they are going to give to the exhibitors and audience for the placement of the alpacas.  It must take a lot of stamina both mentally and physically to judge an alpaca show, and alpaca owners should all be thankful that there are individuals who willingly take on that task.   

My days away while busy were most enjoyable and educational, and I will volunteer to assist at a Judges Training Clinic again if I have the opportunity. 

On our daily Zeus update the little devil did not gain much weight yesterday, his energy levels are still good and he had a good chase around the pasture with Carissima last night.  It may be that he didn’t think to nurse from Carina while she was busy eating her alfalfa the day before.  I think little Zeus is going to be a constant challenge until we can get him eating some grain and hay, but I am confident that we will get him through this.  We have a lot of tools in our toolbox of ideas and we will just keep trying to ensure he gains weight.  Last night I was encouraged to see him nibbling on a little of the alfalfa, which will add a few more calories to his daily intake.  I think having Carissima around is a real benefit to Zeus, he watches her and follows her lead on so many things, perhaps without her he would not have started to nibble on hay yet, and he certainly would not have had Carina to steal milk from! 

It was good to see that Ric was able to figure out the intricacies of updating the blog, he did such a good job in my absence I think I can plan on taking more days away from the farm – somehow I think he may not agree with my on that point! 

Rosemary

October 1, 2007

AOBA Judges Training

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Shows — Tags: , , , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 12:15 pm

Rosemary is still away on her training course and volunteering for the first ever AOBA Judges training course held in Oklahoma.  The much-anticipated judges training event is an absolute must for AOBA to ensure the high quality of certified judges.  The training each judge completes to become certified as an AOBA judge is extremely comprehensive.  The applicants are normally screened and must have been in the alpaca industry for a specified length of time.  The judges in training then go through a solid three days of textbook and hands-on practical experience.  The judges are trained in fleece, conformation, comments, minor faults major faults, and serious faults, and many other areas of observation as they systematically single out the best animal from second, second from third and so on.  The training also includes hands on with the fleece as well as with the animals themselves.  The judges in training must pass this course with a fairly accuracy score.

 

            Before the judges can be certified as AOBA judges each apprentice must then attend a specified number of level II, level III, level IV or level V shows working in the ring alongside a certified training judge.  The apprentice may discuss different aspects of each animal but the certified judge makes the final decision on animal placement in the show ring.  The training judge will then write a lengthy report on the apprentice performance in the ring and that is turned and evaluated by the AOBA show division.  Once the apprentice has satisfactorily completed all aspects of show apprenticing both in halter and in fleece then the show committee can award the new judge his or her certification as an AOBA judge.  This entire process can take up to three years or longer to complete.

 

            The next time you’re in the show ring feel confident that the judge has taken a lot of time and effort on his or her part to be there judging your animals with confidence.

 

            Life here at Windrush has gotten back into routine of getting chores completed fixing fence and completing the multiple jobs that seem to pop up every day on any farm.

 

            Today I will be challenged to get all the chores completed, check on all the animals to make sure everything is OK and get ready to go to my other job by 8:45.  I sometimes accept opportunities to substitute teach in our local school district and I accepted the challenge of teaching a high school class today so I will let you know how it goes tomorrow.

 

            Just a quick note to let everyone know little Zeus gained weight again yesterday, not as much as I would have liked but every gain is a good sign.  Last night when I checked on the animals before going to bed Zeus was playing King of the Hill and standing on the mound as he frolicked around the pasture.  I think he must take after Rosemary and is turning into a night owl, as all the rest of the animals were settled in for the night.

  

Ric

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