Dutch in 2010

The Bradford Ch. Show at Harrogate in January 2010 attracted a total entry of well over 700 cavies although the exact amount is something for speculation. The catalogue gave an entry of 738 but it seems that subsequent entries received after publication pushed that total even higher. Unfortunately, this admirable response from the cavy fancy in general was not reflected in the number of Dutch cavies entered. I could only count five exhibits from four exhibitors and quality hardly compensated for quantity as none seemed to make the duplicates.

This year, 2011, the show has been transformed in name amidst a fair amount of disquiet over the rebranding. I, like several others, value the history of our hobby and it would have been nice if, at very least, the Super Product Promotion Show sponsors and organisers could have shown bracketed in all the advertising headings (formerly the Bradford Championship Show). Some recognition of the past is surely warranted and needs to be more than whatever the 'Cavies' team can do to uphold tradition.

As far as I'm aware, no such rancour or concern surrounds the Yorkshire Championship Show that is regularly held at Keighley each April. This is one of my favourite shows and well worth the early start to make it a northern event that I can attend as a one day trip out. The Dutch Cavy Club's Northern Area Spring Show was entertained there this past April and, therefore, I had good reason to enter and attend. Unfortunately, my own efforts this time were somewhat hampered by Network Rail's decision to carry out work on the line between Peterborough and London. The necessary 'excursion' put an hour on my journey with the result that I missed the adult classes but worse could have happened and they did on the return journey as I suffered the football fan exodus at Leeds together with a train that broke down just outside the station!

The show was a much more pleasant experience with a grand entry of 528 exhibits including 41 Dutch for Brian Leiper to sort out in the DCC classes. As already stated, this show was billed as the DCC Northern Area Spring Show but it could have easily been re-classified as the Amy Heale Benefit Show as her exhibits took almost every class they entered and the only exception was the Chocolate Dutch u/5mths class where a smart exhibit from Sarah Stribley prevailed and was the only pig to trouble her team taking Best u/5 mths exhibit and 2nd place in the Grand Challenge. Otherwise, Amy took Best Adult and Best Dutch with her Chocolate and Best 5/8mths with a Red.

One pleasing aspect of this show was the mix of colours being shown. Apart from the usual Reds, Blacks and Golden Agoutis normally seen about these parts, Stuart Inch showed a few Creams whilst Madelaine Coomber kept the flag flying for Cinnamon and Chocolate Agouti Dutch. Sue Hearn also supported the Cinnamon classes and Sally Nye showed the only Silver Agouti that, like several others including my pigs, tagged behind the Heale entries in the duplicates.

May saw the Kent Cavy Club entertaining the DCC Southern Area Show where Chris Peachey was due to judge. Unfortunately, this was not to be (I think a bad fall was the reason) and the Club was very grateful to Julie Davies for standing in at very short notice and sorting out the entry of around 46 Dutch. Stuart Inch was the recipient of Best Dutch with a useful Red 5/8 mths sow that just touched off Graham Godfrey's Silver Agouti boar for top honours. A juvenile, Dan Hobbs took the Best u/5 mths exhibit with a young Red sow. A pleasing feature of this show was the number of Agouti Dutch entered; 6 Cinnamons, 5 Goldens, 7 Silvers & 2 Chocolate with only Cream Agouti absent (as they were all year).

The next DCC show was the South West Area Show in July where Amy Heale did the honours. Unfortunately, I have no details of the number of Dutch entered and all that Amy states in her Cavies report is that she had 'a good selection of pigs to judge with most colours represented.' This time, Graham Godfrey's Silver Agouti boar reigned supreme (it seems Stuart's nice Red sow had yet to reappear (possibly on breeding duty?) although another nice Red sow took advantage of the situation and it was a close call for top honours between Graham's Silver boar (now a DCC champion) and Gary Clark's 5/8 mths exhibit that is shown under the Saracen Stud prefix. Judging from the critique, better cheeks took preference over the evenness of stops and that makes sense with 25 points for head markings and 15 for stops. Both though are, of course, good representatives of their respective colours and have done their fair share of winning either previously or since.

With rather limited information on this event, I cannot comment much further except to observe that it was good to see relatively new member, Kevin Hopkins making a seasonal appearance here with his Red Dutch entries. Although not exactly hitting the headlines, his pigs did receive some encouraging comments from Amy and I believe he also acquired some Chris Peachey bloodlines at this event so Kevin could well be the one to watch in future years.

About a month after this event on 1st August, the Kent Coast Cavy Club held an open pen show with a couple of Dutchman judging namely, Stuart Inch and Graham Godfrey. Because of the numbers involved Graham had been asked to help out and took over the Marked & Ticked classes. As Maidstone is only just down the road, it came as no surprise to find that Gary Clark (Saracen Stud) was showing but even with two Dutch admirers behind the table, it was still quite an achievement (and was something of a tussle I believe) for his nice Red sow to topple a good Alpaca and gain Best in Show. Forgive if I've overlooked anyone but, from memory, I can't recall another such B.I.S. win for our breed.

The next weekend in August brought about the Betley Horticultural Show and to all accounts this is a really good day out and well worth a visit. The cavy section was very well supported overall but the Dutch entry for the Margaret Elward Memorial Show was very disappointing. Last year at Norton Lindsey, it was 80 odd but this year it was only 18. One could hardly blame the organisation or indeed the judge and I can only suggest mid-season apathy or an unawareness of the stature and awards linked with this event. Several Kent fanciers made the effort to attend and I know they were disappointed with the response from members. The 2011 event needs to be much better (10/09/11 is the date pencilled in) and in response to the disappointment of Madelaine Coomber and with her kind help, I have been able to arrange for some special prize cards to be produced. I hope this will give members an extra incentive to show and we can commemorate our past president with a really bumper entry in 2011.

Anyway, back to 2010 and this year's Show. Stuart Inch did the honours and awarded Best Dutch to the Black Dutch boar shown by Crazy Cavies. Well marked and balanced, groomed to perfection really deserved this win were the judge's comments. Two adult Reds from Saracen Stud followed by a young red sow from L & P Cavies filled the minor places in the final line up.

The second Northern Area Show took place at Oldham on 11th September and proved to be very much in doubt at one stage because of the evidence of dry rot in the show hall. So much was it likely to be a non-event (cancelled at one stage) that Northern Area Rep. made alternative arrangements for the day and, consequently, through no fault of her own was absent from duties on the day. Thanks to whoever took over the card writing duties, I suspect it may have been Stuart Inch who seems to be ever present when there is a DCC event.

Top Northern judge, Malcolm Atkinson officiated and although he duly obliged with reports to both Cavies magazine and the DCC Secretary (for the annual newsletter) there is no mention of the total Dutch entered. From a count up on the classes, I suspect it was 27. Best Dutch proved to be a repeat of the Margaret Elward Memorial Show at Betley as the Black boar from Crazy Cavies again took the honours. A Red sow from Alan Wilson followed this one home and came between the winner's stablemate, another Black boar. It seems Kevin Hopkins took Reserve in the Grand Challenge but I can only guess that it was with a young Red boar.

The Annual Stock Show and AGM took place at the Wyvern Cavy Club's Halloween Show on 30th October and attracted the best entry of Dutch for the year. I've yet to sight any reports on the show but, on the day, a total of 50 plus Dutch was mentioned for judge, Graham Godfrey to sort out. I did very little stewarding and much more talking so had little knowledge of the results other than the Adult Black Dutch class of 8 that again saw Crazy Cavies in the top spot and second with Malcolm Atkinson taking the yellow card. I can also recall Kevin Hopkins being among the cards in the Red 5/8mths classes and, after returning to the hall from the AGM, I learnt that Malcolm Atkinson had taken Best Dutch with a 5/8 mths Black. I can't really comment on this pig as I never saw it but it must have been pretty useful to succeed in what looked to be a really competitive line up. Of the big guns, only Amy Heale was absent.

I saw even less of the Wyvern classes being judged where Malcolm Atkinson was one of the judges officiating and was covering the Dutch classes. I did, though, speak to Gary Clark and he was highly delighted to find that his adult Red sow had been made Best Dutch on the Wyvern side. I was pleased too as this pig had done quite well under me earlier in the year.

The last show of the year was the re-scheduled Midland Area Show. Originally intended for Loughborough's July Show, double booking had caused arrangements to be cancelled and the event was now included in the club's Christmas Show. Likewise, the judging arrangements were very much a merry-go-round and the subject of change. Initially, I was selected to judge but the original July Sunday date didn't fit in with my own arrangements. Sue Hearn and later Gary Clark were booked for the show but with Kent severely affected by the bad weather, Gary was unable to make his judging debut and the task returned to me.

Overall, there was a good entry of around 400 although the snow and freezing conditions meant that there were several absentees. The Dutch entry of 40 lost several exhibits but, in general, the quality of those present was good other than the Adult Red Boar class (5) that was disappointing. In the past, winners from this class shown by the likes of Kevin Lidbetter, Harold Laycock, etc. have gone on to take Best Dutch but not here. The Adult Red Sow class was so much better all round but the winner from Alan Wilson had to give way in the AC Adult Challenge to a lovely Chocolate sow from Amy Heale. This pig was real class and was, later, a confident choice for Best Dutch.

Amy Heale also took the Intermediate classes with a more than useful Red boar but this exhibit did rather test my patience as it was far from a perfect showman, being reluctant to handling and this certainly didn't help its cause come the Grand Challenge. The A.O.C.s in this age group included a neat Black sow from Wilmot Goldsworthy.

Although few in number, the u/5mths classes included some promising youngsters and I thought they were a good selection particularly considering the time of year. An obvious choice here was a very smart Red boar shown by Sarah Stribley who also provided a reasonable young Chocolate. A tidy Black from Wilmot Goldsworthy was just spoilt by a tipped ear and the young Cream from Alan Wilson provided a good example of the breed.

The final line up in the Grand Challenge: 1st Amy Heale (Chocolate Ad.). 2nd Sarah Stribley (Red u/5mths). 3rd Alan Wilson (Red Ad.). Res. Crazy Cavies (Black Ad.).

Throughout the year the top spot has been shared around between the colours and exhibitors fairly well with only Amy Heale (Chocolate) and Crazy Cavies (Black) taking Best Dutch twice. The other shows were won by Stuart Inch (Red), Graham Godfrey (Silver Agouti) and Malcolm Atkinson (Black). What can happen in 2011 is all in the crystal ball. Competition in the Reds is fairly open. Alan Wilson has very successful during the latter part of 2010 but Sarah Stribley could well have a hand in things as could Gary Clark, amongst others. In the north, L & P Cavies have been knocking on the door and the dark horse is Kevin Hopkins. It just needs that flyer in a litter to make all the difference.

In Blacks, where in the past, things have been so dominated by Wilmot Goldsworthy; it could be different in future as she seems more interested in Self Saffrons these days. Malcolm Atkinson is always likely to produce something useful and Crazy Cavies are the 'New Kid on the Block'. Chocolates seem to be very much the domain of either Amy Heale or Sarah Stribley whilst, in Creams, Alan Wilson could have things all his own way now that Stuart Inch has decided to reduce his stock. Everything is very open on the Agouti front. Graham Godfrey's Silver champion could be the star turn but little else seems to have stood out during the past year. Madelaine Coomber is persevering with Chocolate Agoutis along with Cinnamons but they are quite a challenge and show stock doesn't come easy. Cream Agouti Dutch are currently significant by their absence (as are Lilac Dutch) and things are very open when it comes to Golden Agouti Dutch.

On the admin side of things, it has been difficult at times for the new secretary, Maggie Mckay. Problems have been overcome and the AGM this year went off better than last year. The new arrangements for next year's show programme streamlined affairs here but, unfortunately, some club offers were received after things had been decided and I think some advance notice of our intentions would help things here. I'm sure Maggie and the Area Reps, Kim, Madelaine and Stuart will have these little problems in mind and any such snags can be overcome for the future.

Membership is down on earlier years but that seems to be a trend in the fancy. Hopefully, though we can keep our Club to the fore thanks to the efforts of our Executive and, in particular, Stuart Inch who has been all over the country with our new club stand. Thanks are also due to Lynne Regan for the maintenance of our website that is a great publicity vehicle in this modern age. I wish to also mention our former secretary, Chris Peachey who, although taking a back seat away from the Club's management, is still willing to assist with the year end Points Competition awards and card write whenever others are busy with other duties.

Of course, we also need the membership to support the Club and make 2011 shows a success with bumper entries. Hopefully, we can all breed that flyer and that will make life really interesting behind the judging table.