Youth Development Programme (YDP) & Breeder Information Event: 

The YDP and Breeder Information Event was held in Carrick Showgrounds, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Roscommon on Friday 30th June 2023 at 6.30pm which gathered a great crowd. The evening commenced with addresses from Tommy Shryane, President of the Irish Shorthorn Society, and the newly appointed Secretary, Joanne Bowers.

The information event commenced with two very informative contributions from two guest speakers. The first speaker was Niall Kilrane, ICBF and he simplified what Euro Stars are all about and indicators to be aware of in your herd or with animal selection. He also discussed the Myostatin Gene and the new National Genomics Programme. This was followed by questions & answers.

The second speaker was John Gilmore, Veterinary Surgeon and proprietor of FamLab Diagnostics, based in Elphin, Co. Roscommon. John spoke about animal health and the clinical signs, BVD, Johnes Disease. He also gave us an insight of the services provided by FarmLab Diagnostics and wrapped up with questions & answers.

The practical demonstrations kicked off at the cattle crush where Anthony Dockery took us through the basics of halter breaking an animal for the first time, from organising animals in the chute and fitting the correct size halter to learning the art of using a quick release knot and moreover, the awareness of personal safety and animal welfare.

Padraig Flanagan, ably assisted by his two daughters Sinéad and Katie took us through the steps including prewash preparations, blowing the hair before washing, equipment required, washing the animal, products to use and the correct way to dry the animal achieving maximum impact with the hair.

Adrian Flatley provided a demonstration on how to correctly clip an animal. He and his brother Keiran took us blow by blow through the process, discussing the equipment required and safety involved.  Initially assessing the animal and providing an overview of what he was looking to achieve. He clipped in stages while communicating with the audience and working through the animal’s hind quarters, tail, tail head, topline, shoulder, neck, sides, belly, brisket and finished with the head. While all this was going on, we had plenty of young enthusiasts who in turns were willing to replicate the learnings of clipping and grooming with another animal that was on standby.

Once all the participants had the animals groomed and looking their best it was time to put their best foot forward and take to the showring with their animal on tow. Anthony Dockery gave pointers on good showmanship and getting the best out of your animal in the show ring. The crowd watched on as the young exhibitors paraded around practiced what was been preached. Anthony covered areas such as; walking clockwise in the ring, the pace to walk at, the distance between exhibitors, being confident, relaxing & reassuring your animal, controlling the head, standing and feet placement, rein lining your animal, the importance of concentration and staying alert, watching signals from the judge, respecting other exhibitors, and accepting the judge’s decisions. All the youth present had the opportunity to experience the showring by taking turns in exhibiting the animals.

The final part of the evening was left to Breed Secretary, Joanne Bowers who had a busy evening on the Information Stand disseminating information, meeting & greeting breeders and nonbreeders, and embracing the opportunity to put at least some faces to names of members.  Joanne’s display area was quickly surrounded with delighted participants who individually received a presentation of a ‘Goodie Bag’ of grooming items to take home along with some treats.

Padraig Flanagan, The Croghan Club Chairperson, concluded the evening by thanking Carrick Show Grounds for the use of their facilities and the guest speakers for their valued inputs. He acknowledged Zurich Insurance and the Irish Shorthorn Society for their kind support and sponsorship of the event. He also thanked The Croghan Shorthorn Breeders Club & the Moyside Breeders Club for their input and their support. He commended all the YDP participants, parents, breeders, and everybody else who contributed in any way to an enjoyable and memorable social evening of fun and laughter while learning new things and methods that hopefully will be of future benefit to all our Shorthorn supporters.