Sienna Nisbet (12)

Where do you and your family come from?

My family and I come from Orchardton Farm, based near Cumnock. It is a working beef and sheep farm, and I also have some horses too!

How did you get into showing livestock?

Well my dad, James, always took me to shows and I knew from a very young age that showing was what I wanted to do. Every time I saw someone in the ring, I wanted to get involved too and my dad used to come in the ring with me when I was little to help me show big tup lambs. I’ve just kept practicing over the years to get better at it.

I’m very grateful that I’m in the position to be able to show sheep. At my school, everyone wants to grow up and become famous on social media but all I want to become is a farmer!

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What is your favourite type of stock to show and why?

Well I love the sheep, the Bluefaced Leicesters in particular. They look fantastic and they can be quite wild but they become petted the more you work with them.

My mum has some Blue Texels and she said she would let me show them one day, but I’m happy to stick with my Leicesters!

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

I did, he was a Bluefaced Leicester tup lamb called Blueberry. About two years ago, I showed him quite a few times and he was a stunning animal and really quiet too, but too good a tup to keep so dad gave me the option to choose where he was sold and I picked Kelso. He made a lot of money that day.

Recently, my favourite would be Blueberry the third – another Bluefaced Leicester tup lamb. He was a lovely looking ram but the only downside was that he hated people and he was a wee bit wild.

What was the first show you went to?

I’m pretty sure there was a show in Lanark, where I showed a ewe lamb with my dad and she was really quiet.

I got my first tiny trophy and I still have it today! I just kept practicing over and over again to make sure I was getting better for the shows the following year.

Read more: Young handlers - Kerry Smith, Fettercairn show

What’s the first show you have attended this year?

This year it was the Royal Highland Show as there wasn’t anything beforehand near us that we could go to. Again I was practicing in the field, washing the animal and making sure it was quiet. I got second, whereas at Coylton I was placed first!

What is your favourite show to go to?

I have three. First would be a small local show near where we stay, as there are various livestock classes and lots to do! Then it would be the Highland Show, as it’s simply amazing. Finally I would say Coylton – it’s a show where you know a lot of people but also gives you a chance to impress the judges.

What is your favourite thing about showing?

Other people would say winning but I don’t I say that. Being in the ring with your sheep and trying your best is good enough for me, and there’s always room for improvement.

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

Probably winning reserve overall at the Great Yorkshire Show as there were 30 competitors in the class and I was super proud! In 2019, I stood reserve champion at the Highland Show too.

Is there anything you don’t like about showing?

Sometimes you have to put a halter on sheep and, in my opinion, you should have an option. A sheep isn’t like a pet that you can just walk around the ring – you have to hold it and be nice to it in order to get it to show itself off as best as possible.

If your sheep isn’t used to the halter then it can go wrong, and I believe that sheep are meant to be free and shown naturally.

Have you had any disappointments, yet?

Yes...definitely! At the Great Yorkshire Show, I got upset as the judge told me to put a halter on my sheep, however, the sheep wasn't used to a halter and wouldn’t let me put it on.

The judge told me to select another sheep and try again but the whole experience wasn’t enjoyable, especially as I had people watching me.

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

Firstly, it would be my dad, James, as he has taught me everything I know! Another would be a fellow competitor I only know as Katie.

She has beaten me so many times but there is no way I could beat her as she does everything really well – I hope to be as good as her one day!

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

One of my dad's friends, Davy Mitchell, told me that its not about the winning, its about how you show the sheep at the end of the day. I totally agree and it’s all about trying your best!

How do you spend your spare time?

I go out on the farm and help with anything that needs done, whether that be at calving or lambing time and in the winter.

If someone asked me to go to their house, I always check nothing needs done on the farm beforehand. I’d rather spend time with my pony, cattle and sheep than go to my friend's house and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

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

I want to eventually take over my dad’s farm or buy a new one! I would love to be a beef and sheep farmer, as well as also wanting to have a showjumping career with my pony.

Another side career would be photography as I love taking pictures of livestock.

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

It’s not about the winning, it’s all about the taking part. One bit of advice I would give is not to get upset or cry when you don’t do as well as you hoped, as that can stick in a judges mind more than anything else!

Always look professional and look confident in what your showing, and keep practicing in order to get better. Finally, always listen to the people that know better and have done it all – they give great advice!