Sheep love at the Royal Welsh Show

Thursday 21 July 2011, 13:22

James McLaren James McLaren

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I like sheep. Despite apparently being knocked over by a ram, aged two, on Dartmoor, I admire their stolid disposition, their comparatively diminutive size and the fact that they have brains the size of a brontosaurus'.

Staring competition with a sheep

Staring competition with a sheep

I decide to see what's happening at the sheep ring as they're meant to be crowning the top specimens of their classes and breeds, then the 'champion of champions'. It's really difficult for anyone not a bona fide sheep-fancier to tell what's what, let alone for me, who normally sees muddy brown sheep, covered in barbed wire and faeces on some windswept upland.

So forgive my lack of clarity; the elderly couple next to me "love sheep" but they can't help me out either. We chat instead about the "lovely coloured legs" of the stonking beast next to us, a class winner:

A class-winning sheep

A class-winning sheep

Compared to the comparatively well-behaved horses (who only kicked a few people a few times), the sheep are a bit chaotic. The handlers are required to do a bit of ovine wrangling:

Wrestling a ram

Wrestling a ram

Whipping out my macro long lens, I take this shot of a sheep's beady eye:

Sheep's eye

Sheep's eye

I'm really looking forward to the sheepdog trials starting in 30 minutes in the main ring. One Man And His Dog Redux, but without Phil Drabble.

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