Showtime - Riverside School Style
The special school I teach in, Riverside School, Antrim, has been collaborating with the Dexter Cow Society in an awesome project training our pupils to groom and show rare-breed Dexter Cows.
The pupils began training on a weekly basis in September and have recently showcased their talents in the ring in Northern Ireland’s premier event in the farming calendar; The Balmoral Show.
Show Day coincided with one of my days off, so the Teagues went along to see how they got on. We were seriously impressed!
Firstly, Riverside were so in demand, we had to battle the paparazzi to get a look in!
Some of our pupils are more than happy in the limelight, but for many, even entering the ring was a major achievement and they totally nailed it!
Having taught some of these guys when they were 4 or 5, I will confess to welling up a little when they proudly marched their unruly cows into the ring and took up their positions like the well-oiled machine they had become.
Each team had a designated pupil to lead their cow and a number of groomers tasked with keeping the cows (and pupils) looking their best.
Sponsored by Dunbia, they all really looked the part in their show-coats and team T-shirts
It proved to be quite a challenge to keep the feisty beasts under control, but each of the teams worked really hard and did a great job of showing off their skills.
And, boy, did those mischievous cows test their skills to the limit!
Thankfully, they were no match for the Riverside crew.
At finale, time, I was highly relived to be just an observer and not a participant (just like many of our pupils, I’m not a fan of the limelight!) but the whole thing was great fun to watch and I was immensely proud of the pupils, Riverside staff members and the Dexter Cow Society for working so hard to make it all come together so well on the day. Roll on next year. Maybe some more schools will join in?
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Ashley (Dad/ 3rd child/ chief photographer). Me - Kerry (Mum/ the sensible one... sometimes). Harry (8) can't sit still and Chloe (nearly 6, thinks she can do everything Harry can and makes pretty good attempts too). We spend as much time as possible having "adventures" (which consist of anything which takes place outside and is accompanied by official “adventure sweeties”).
Favourite place in the world:
Ashley and me - The Ards Peninsula, Strangford Lough, The Mourne Mountains . Harry – Alan’s farm, anywhere with mud, sand, bugs or tractors or that requires a paddle or harness to get to. Chloe - Anywhere as long as it's outside and preferably with somewhere to toast marshmallows and drink “North Pole” hot chocolate
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Biking, climbing, canoeing, digging holes on the beach, making dens (or anything out of sticks), looking for squirrels, butterflies, crabs and Gruffalos. Chloe loves to collect stones, but we try to discourage that as we invariably end up carrying the most precious ones home. She managed to stash about 20 in her bag on a recent weekend away in Ballycastle and cunningly talked Uncle Pancake into carrying her bag to the car so we wouldn’t find out until it was too late. She currently has a fairly large cairn in her bedroom! Harry has a model dairy farm complete with stone walls built from beach pebbles in his bedroom. Neither has much room left for sleeping.