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

With the 2021 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...

Thomas (12) and Isla (10) Goldie

Can you tell us a wee bit about yourselves?

We are Thomas Goldie and Isla Goldie, and we are from Townfoot Farm, Mouswald Dumfries.

On our family farm, with our Dad and Mum, we breed pedigree Limousin cattle and have flocks of Valais Blacknose, Texel and Zwartbles sheep all under the Goldies prefix.

Grandpa and Granny bought the farm in 1982 and Grandpa still comes out to help every day.

How did you get in to showing livestock?

Thomas: We got our first Zwartbles ewe lamb for Christmas in December 2014 and showed her at Dumfries show as a gimmer the following August, where we were delighted to win a first prize. I was age six then, and I then showed her in the young handlers and won both the Junior and Overall Young Handlers Champion that day. After this I was hooked on showing and Isla was desperate to show as soon as she was old enough.

Isla: When our ewe lamb, Black Beauty arrived on Christmas Day, we spent most of that day and Boxing Day brushing and halter training her, so that was the start and we have never looked back!

What are your favourite breeds?

Thomas and Isla: Limousin cattle are family favourites. We have a soft spot for the Zwartbles. Dad prefers the Valais Blacknose though! We enjoy working with all the breeds we are involved in.

What stands out to you about these breeds? What qualities do you feel that they have?

Thomas: Zwartbles have good temperaments, lots of milk and look very smart. Texels are a very strong and meaty breed.

Valais Blacknose are the cutest sheep in the world and are friendly and quiet. Limousin are my favourite breed of cattle. They have good temperaments, great conformation and there is lots of demand for them.

Isla: I love the Zwartbles and Valais as they are so quiet to handle and very cuddly - we can train them to follow us. I can now manage to brush the Limousins and I get allowed to lead them on the farm.

What was the first show that you went to? Do you have a favourite show to go to?

Thomas and Isla: We have been at the Royal Highland and Dumfries shows every year since we were born, until lockdown.

Dumfries show 2015 was the first one we exhibited at and from there we caught the showing bug. We love meeting lots of other people at The Highland Show and getting to stay away for a few nights. We also like to help Dad at the pre-sale shows at bull sales, when they fall in our school holidays.

What is your favourite thing about showing?

Thomas: We love spending time with the animals and getting them prepared. I love the buzz of competing and being proud of our animals. It’s good to catch up with lots of other people at the shows too. I hope Dad will allow me to show some cattle next year at a show.

Isla: I like getting the sheep ready to show, especially a wee lamb that I have played with since it was born.

What has been your biggest success?

Thomas: With the Zwartbles sheep it has been winning young handlers at Dumfries, Langholm, Moffat and the Highland show junior section. We also topped the Zwartbles sale at Carlisle with our first ram.

Isla: For me it would be winning the young handlers at Dumfries show, the Highland show and at the Blacknose Beauties.

Thomas and Isla: Our best day as a family however, was at Carlisle Limousin sale in February 2020 when we were champion and reserve with two full brothers. We had to go to school that day but managed to get down to Carlisle just in time for the championship and were at the sale the following day where they shared the top price.

Have you had any disappointments so far?

Thomas: Our first Zwartble ewe let us down at her first lambing - so we learnt early about disappointments.

Isla: Dad says to enjoy the good days and remember them when something goes wrong.

Who would you say you look up to in showing?

Thomas: My Dad, Bruce Goldie and my Grandpa, Jim Goldie - they have taught me everything I know about farming and let me help with all livestock activities. Our Grandad, David Drysdale, allows us to get lots of sheep experience too and we love to go over there to help.

Isla: I look up to my Dad and Grandpa, who have showed animals for lots of years. Thomas is also a very good teacher.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Thomas and Isla: Put in lots of time and effort before the show, look at the judge and most of all enjoy yourselves. Dad always says we have to “be humble in victory and gracious in defeat”.

Do you help out on the farm at home?

Thomas and Isla: Yes, every day during lambing and most other days too. Dad gets us to do most of the sheep work before school! We also love the pre-bull sales prep and enjoy leading the bulls and heifers at home to train them. We have one particular stock bull – Goldies Juggler - who breeds them very quiet. We have been able to lead all his sons and grandsons.

What are your hobbies or interests out with showing?

Thomas: I play rugby for Dumfries Saints and enjoy football too.

Isla: I have recently got a pony called Pippa who I adore and have been riding her during the summer holidays. We also like water activities - especially swimming and paddle boarding.

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

Thomas: When I am older, I would like to take over the family farm from my Dad and Mum and carry on all of our livestock herds and flocks.

Isla: I would like to be involved in horses, sheep and cattle.

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

Thomas: Work hard and never give up.

Isla: Have fun and always smile!