PARTICIPANTS travelled from near and far to attend the very first cattle dressing workshop put on by The Galloway Cattle Society.

One of Scotland’s hardiest native breeds was the focus last weekend, as 50 people came together at Balgray, Lockerbie, to learn about the ins and outs of washing and dressing Galloways, in preparation for shows and sales.

The day offered expert tuition and the opportunity to put it into hands-on practice, under the guidance and watchful eye of breed stalwart and cattle dressing expert, Dennis Gall.

Hosted by David and Rosemary Cornthwaite, 14 Galloways had been prepared and were presented to allow the experience of completing the preparation process that would be carried out as you gear up for a day in the ring.

The Scottish Farmer: After the demonstration, attendees were able to put what they'd seen into practice After the demonstration, attendees were able to put what they'd seen into practice

Dennis, who has worked with Galloways and other breeds for decades, winning the top tickets at shows with a variety of types of cattle, was instrumental in the day taking place.

He told The Scottish Farmer: “I’ve been involved with these kinds of days with other breeds – like Aberdeen-Angus and Limousin – and they’ve always been a success, so I thought it would be a great thing for people who are interested in Galloways to get experience of.

“I wanted to encourage young folk to be able to have a shot at dressing cattle, and the Cornthwaites did a fantastic job of providing cattle for us to do that with. A lot of hard work had gone on at Balgray by David, Rosemary, and Jason before we arrived, and that is very much appreciated.

“There were a lot of familiar faces, but there were also a lot of people that had little to no experience of Galloways, and that’s brilliant.

“And it wasn’t just young people, there were people there who have bought Galloways in the past but had never had the opportunity to get any advice on how to work with them in this way.”

The comprehensive workshop delved into essential skills, with Dennis, along with John Graham, leading participants through the intricate processes of washing, drying, clipping, dressing, and showcasing Galloways.

The Scottish Farmer: Dennis Gall and John Graham carried out the demonstration Dennis Gall and John Graham carried out the demonstration

Dennis shared valuable insights at each stage, providing a thorough understanding of preparing Galloways to the highest standards.

Participants were then organised into teams and given the chance to put the advice they had been given into practice, giving the attendees the chance to get hands-on experience and take pointers from Dennis and other renowned Galloway breeders who were on hand to help as they worked.

Dennis continued: “I was seriously impressed with the work of those taking part. They listened to what we were saying, watched the demonstration, and really did their best to put it into practice. “The standard was excellent, and it was really promising for the future of the breed.

“We want to promote Galloways and show their attributes, and part of that is getting people to bring them out to shows and sales, so hopefully we’ve both encouraged people of all ages, who are already involved in the breed and maybe inspired one or two that aren’t directly connected to it just now.

“We might be one of the smaller breeds as far as numbers are concerned, but I think we’re one of the best, and we’re certainly one of the most welcoming!”

After the cattle were prepped, those taking part had the chance to present their beasts in front of Jim Ross, a well-known name in the breed for his Romesbeoch herd at Shawhead, Dumfries.

Jim gave the benefit of his show-winning experience, giving advice on the finer points of showmanship and the skills needed.

The Scottish Farmer: Young participants travelled from all over to take partYoung participants travelled from all over to take part

Galloway young breeder Innes Common commented: “I really enjoyed the workshop and I learned a lot from it - like how to clip Galloways properly.

“Also, leading the heifers around has given me more confidence in the show and sale ring – and the food was great!

“The success of the inaugural cattle dressing workshop represents a significant milestone for The Galloway Cattle Society, underscoring its dedication to fostering education and hands-on learning experiences within the Galloway community.”

The day was supported by sponsors, including Wallets Marts, Nith Valley Constructions Ltd, Show Time Supplies, and Solway Agricultural Ltd.

Dennis concluded: “This was the first time the Galloway Cattle Society has put on a day like this, and it was a great success, so I certainly hope it won’t be the last. I would love to see it become an annual thing... I’ve already got ideas for the next one!”