We continue our look at the future of the show circuit – young handlers! With the 2021 show season once again falling foul of Covid-19, and most summer shows once again not taking place, we’ve asked the individual show societies to nominate a young handler or two, for us to speak to, and get their outlook on shows, and the wider industry. After all, they are the future.

Running in a similar order to the show calendar, we’re looking forward to hearing what the next generation has to say..

Strathaven Show

Isobel (18), Lynsey (16) and William (12) Currie

What type of farm do you and your family live on?

We are Isobel, Lynsey and William Currie and are from Blackbog Farm, Quarter, Hamilton. We live with our mum and dad on a family run dairy farm of Holstein cows with beef and sheep as well. We all help out every day including our papa who is up for milking every morning.

Do you help on the farm and if so, what’s your favourite job?

William: I usually get the cows in from the shed for milking, but my favourite job is driving the tractor especially rowing up at silage time.

Lynsey: My favourite job is helping with lambing. I’m usually always outside helping my dad and he thought it was great when we were off school due to lockdown – he had three full time workers!

Isobel: Yes, I do milking’s four nights a week. I’ve been helping in the parlour for as long as I can remember and since passing my driving test, I’ve been able to help cart silage and bring in bales.

How did you get into showing livestock?

Our dad and mum encouraged us, we like to support our local shows.

Favourite type of stock to show and why?

We really like showing Holstein calves – it’s good to see them grow into cows in the dairy herd. We once showed a jersey calf, but she had a mind of her own when trying to show her in the ring!

Do you have a favourite animal that you like showing the most? If so, why?

William: I’ve got a favourite cow in the herd, but she has never been shown. She is a red and white Holstein and is a real character.

Lynsey: I’ve started my own flock of pedigree Dorset sheep that I’m hoping to show in the future. I’ve been taking part in the Young Farmers sheep dressing competition and it’s helped me to learn how to properly dress them for showing.

Isobel: I’ve a few favourite cows, but the one I like the most is Talia. I showed her at Strathaven Show in 2015 as a calf – she is now a fourth calver and is one of our best cows.

What was the first show you went to?

We have been attending the Highland Show since we were wee. Our very first show that we competed at was Stonehouse Show, 10 years ago.

What’s your first showing memory?

Isobel: My very first show I tripped on the halter and fell walking into the ring. My calf got away from me but with the help of some other people I managed to get her back.

What is your favourite show to go to?

William: I love going to the Highland Show to visit the machinery stands.

Isobel and Lynsey: Definitely the Highland Show because there’s a lot going on, but we also love our local shows – Strathaven and Stonehouse – because we can catch up with friends.

What is your favourite thing about showing?

Leading our calves in the ring. We think it’s exciting when you know the judge is watching you and your calf.

What has been the biggest success of your show career so far?

William: Getting a third at Lanarkshire Holstein Young Handlers.

Lynsey: I won the junior young handler in 2018 at the Lanarkshire Holstein Calf show.

Isobel: When I won the calf dairy inter-breed section at Strathaven Show, in 2019. My calf has turned out to be a really nice heifer to milk and I actually had her out on the halter a few weeks ago.

Is there anything you don’t like about showing?

William and Lynsey: We don't like it when our calves are stubborn. It takes time and patience to get a calf to walk in time with your steps.

Isobel: I spend a lot of time leading my calf before the show to get her ready then it can be frustrating if she plays up in front of the judge.

Have you had any disappointments, yet?

When the shows didn’t go ahead last year because of Covid.

Who would you say you look up to in the showing world?

Our dad, Stuart, as he shows us how to clip them for showing but usually ends up taking over when it comes to the top line. We really like looking at the old photos from when our papa and great papa showed Ayrshires. They had many show champions.

What is the best bit of advice that sticks in your mind?

To always keep your eye on the judge but also enjoy showing your calf off when in the ring

How do you spend your spare time?

William: I play football and futsal four times a week with Strathaven Dynamo. I recently won the player of the year for futsal. The rest of my time is spent helping outside and I also really like fixing things. I also keep hens and sell eggs to try and get some extra pocket money.

Lynsey: I enjoy dancing, I’ve been going since I was three. I also love going for walks with my dog Marley.

Isobel: I play the piano and French horn and used to be in the school band. I’m also a member of Avondale Young Farmers Club and I really enjoy taking part in most of the activities that have been held so far – especially the stockjudging.

What are your plans for the future just now? Does it feature agriculture?

William: I can’t wait to get my tractor licence and leave school and I’d also love to visit different farms in America.

Lynsey: I’d love to get more sheep to build up my flock and I'm also hoping to start showing them.

Isobel: I’m starting Glasgow University in a few weeks’ time to study Veterinary Bioscience. I’m hoping to continue working with animals at the end of my degree and I’m sure I’ll still be doing some milking shifts!

Do you have any advice for other young people trying to get in to showing?

Try and join a local breeders club if you can. We recently attended the Scottish HYB training day, which gave us some really good advice, as well as meeting new friends with similar interests.