Video: Shear joy for women in the sheep pen

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A touch of girl power came to the show this week as it staged its first ever sheep-shearing classes for women.

Normally the stereotypical preserve of burly men with 
backs of steel, a selection of shearers from all over the country showed that they could easily hold their own in the pursuit.

Louise Robinson from Clapham takes part in the Female Sheep Shearing Competition

Louise Robinson from Clapham takes part in the Female Sheep Shearing Competition

Among those participating were Lynette Taylor from Ingleton in North Yorkshire, Joy Armstrong from Menston in West Yorkshire and Jo Shuttleworth from Kendall in Cumbria.

Ms Taylor, a farmer herself, said: “It is just a fun thing to do.

“It’s something that you 
cannot really avoid if you are a farmer.

“It’s just great to be outside doing it, especially in this weather.”

Ms Shuttleworth added: “The secret is just to make sure you improve every time you 
compete.

“Watching other people doing it helps you improve.

“It’s a case of practice and learning really, that’s all there is to it.”

And of course the obvious question is can women shear as well as men?

“Of course they can,” exclaims Ms Armstrong.

“It’s a skill like any other. I think we have shown we can do it as well as anyone.”

As well as the watchful eye of the Princess Royal, a crowd of several hundred gathered to watch the competitions, with the participants taking just a couple of minutes at a time to trim their animals.

Later in the day there were further classes, including a “test” between New Zealand and Britain, as competitors from both nations went head to head to see who could shear the fastest.

The classes continue today.