Twins from Glaisdale, near Whitby, think they have 'the one' for The Great Yorkshire Show
Glaisdale twins Kim and Caitrina Ward are excited to be involved in the 162nd Great Yorkshire Show, which is under way at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate.
After a break of two years, the show was being very much looked forward to by many in the farming community - not least of which are 32-year-old twins Kim and Caitrina Ward.
The two took time out of their hectic preparation schedule to tell rural community reporter Louise Perrin what it takes to get ready for one of the largest agricultural shows in the country.
Kim and Caitrina have taken 13 animals with them comprising two Beef Shorthorn heifers - a yearling called Peggy and two-year-old Nina.
They also have with them five crossing type Bluefaced Leicester sheep and six Leicester Longwools.
It’s a busy week that began on Friday before the show opened.
Kim and Katrina took the caravan which will be their home for the week over to Harrogate and began setting up on site.
Each of the sisters have three pens for sheep and there will also be two cattle stalls.
They spent Sunday bedding these up ready for the animals to arrive on Monday.
There was a lot to take over, including hessian for the sheep so the paint from the pens doesn’t rub off on their wool, hay, mixed feed, buckets, forks, brushes, sawdust and even a wheelbarrow - everything apart from the kitchen sink!
Monday saw the Cattle and Sheep travel to the site before being washed on arrival as preparations intensify.
Yesterday and this morning (July 14), the twins rose at 5.30am to feed and walk the cattle around the show ring so they don’t get stiff.
This is followed by more washing, blow drying and preparation. Then in the evening the pair will take them for another walk.
Kim says people think that showing is easy but in reality it’s a labour of love.
She said: “It takes six months to get ready.
"You need to get them fat, grow their coats up and get them halter trained, then you need to get them stick trained so they stand right.
“The sheep just need handling, but with Shorthorns you need to make sure they have good foreleg length and confirmation.
“You have to be determined and I always say if I’m not nervous before the show, then it’s time to give up.
Show day starts early, there is an incredible amount of preparation to do before the animals are ready to enter the show ring.
At 4.30am the first job is to wash and blow dry the cattle, they need to be looking their best if the twins are to stand a chance of winning.
The next two hours are devoted to ensuring that all are fed and then the sheep are washed before heading back to the cattle.
The twins then get changed, blow dry the cattle again to remove any dust and then final preparations are under way, polishing the halters and spraying the cattle with oil to make them shine.
There's just time to brush one last time and back comb the tail to make sure they’re square before Kim dons her white coat to enter the show ring, accompanied by dad, Mike.
Kim said that for her Thursday is the best day of the show.
This year, the classes for the sheep and the cattle will take place at the same time, so sister Katrina will show the cattle accompanied by her partner Chris, while Kim shows off the Leicesters.
Kim and Caitrina have a relatively small quantity of cows, with just 20 at home, however they come from a fine pedigree.
The mother of their current entrants was female champion at the Great Yorkshire Show with a calf at foot in 2015.
Kim said: “We have high hopes for the two-year-old heifer, she’s the best I’ve ever taken and I’ve had Shorthorns for 14 years.”
It takes years to get the breeding right, but now the twins have found the perfect bull - Paddy - “he just suits our cows!” said Kim.
“We’ve also got quite high hopes for one of the hogs in wool.”
And the best part about the show?
Caitrina said: “The atmosphere is amazing, we all chat and socialise. It’s just a holiday where we talk about cows and sheep all week really.
“People don’t realise how much you put into it.
"You get to show off what’s taken years and years of hard work just to get ‘the one’….
"And this year, we think we've got one!"