WE continue our look at the future of the show circuit - the young handlers!

With the 2020 show season once again falling foul of Covid, 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 have to say...

Euan Mill (13)

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?

My family and I live at Shawsmill farm near Cardenden in Fife. I have two brothers, Rory who is 15 and Blair who’s seven.

Mum and dad have herd of pedigree Simmentals which are run commercially and a commercial flock of Cheviot and Texel ewes that are crossed to the Border Leicester.

I’m in first year at high school.

How did you get into showing livestock?

Mum and dad were showing cattle, but I wasn’t really into that, so saw about getting myself some sheep to show. Border Leicester’s were a breed I was always interested in, and after going to the Royal Highland Show in 2016 and checking out all the different sheep breeds, that was the road I decided to try and go down.

I went to the Society sale at Lawrie and Symington at Lanark later that same year, and bought a ewe lamb, two gimmers and a tup, and I’ve gone from there.

I’ve got my own flock now, Shawsmill Border Leicesters, and I have now got a dozen ewes.

What are your favourite breeds? What qualities do you feel that they have?

The Border Leicesters are obviously my main pick.

I just thought they were awfy nice, and I love the way they stand and hold themselves. They stand so tall with their head held right up.

They’re a big breed, and more sturdy than a lot of them. They are sometimes a task to hold on to!

What was the first show you went to? What is your favourite show?

My favourite show is definitely the Royal Highland Show. I am hoping to show there myself next year. It has been rubbish last year and this year with no shows to show at or even go to.

My mum and dad used to show at the Highland, and we always take a caravan and stay for the week.

There is just so much there to do and see. It is brilliant!

My first show to go to was Fife Show when I was just a few weeks old. My first time showing there was in 2017, I entered the Border Leicester classes and got a second prize, so was pretty pleased with that!

What is your favourite thing about being involved in showing?

I really enjoy dressing my sheep. Getting them ready and making them look so much tidier and better than when you pull them out the field all dirty, in their working clothes.

I trim them up and bloom them and it is always just a really satisfying transformation – you can definitely see the results of the hard work that you put in. It takes a bit of time to do it well, but it is worth it.

I do get a bit nervous in the show ring, but it is really good fun at the same time. The Border Leicester breed are really second to none when it comes to the people, I think.

They are all lovely and would never hesitate to help each other or give advice. Which is really important when you are getting started!

What has been your biggest success with your Border Leicester sheep?

At Perth show in 2019 – the last year there were any shows – I won the Border Leicester championship with a home-bred ewe lamb. It was a decent sized section and it meant I got into the sheep inter-breed and things like that, so I was definitely really pleased with myself that day.

That fact the ewe lamb was home-bred as well, made it even better. That was the first big success for my own wee flock.

That sounds like a great day. Have you had any disappointments, to match that?

Not really I don’t think. You will never win every time you show, but that is just how it works. You have to just try and stay positive, keep your head down, and get on with it.

Who would you say you look up to, in showing? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

All the older Border Leicester breeders have always been amazing to me. They have always been as helpful and encouraging as they possibly could be.

They give me a lot of advice and just tell me to keep going and stay positive. They really keep me going and make me feel like I am doing things the right way! The reassurance is just great – knowing that there are always a whole team of people there to help me out if I need it.

Do you help out on the farm at home?

Yes, I help out as much as I can around school, and at the weekend and in the school holiday.

In the winter I help to bed the cattle and feed them. In the summer and spring, I help doing a bit of tractor work, like bale lifting and grain carting, just whatever needs done.

I love the showing, but you must make sure that the ‘normal’ work is done and up to date, too. The shows are the treat!

What do you do when you are not busy at home, or out at shows?

My favourite thing to do in my spare tome is play rugby for Kirkcaldy Rugby Club. I am so glad it is back after lockdown. We had our first proper game last week and have another one on Saturday.

The position I play is fullback, number 15!

Do you have plans for the future? Do they feature agriculture?

I have always wanted to be a farmer, but I would also love to play professional rugby. The dream would be to do that, then be a fulltime farmer. Lots of farmers sons have played rugby for Scotland, so you never know!

What would you say to someone that wanted to give showing a try for the first time?

I would just say never give up, and to just try and stay positive!