Jill Thorp: First lambs of the season head off to market

Jill Thorp writes for The Yorkshire Post every Saturday. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Jill Thorp writes for The Yorkshire Post every Saturday. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Weaning has begun and the first batch of lambs sorted and ready for market. Paul is pleased with how they’re looking, but then with the volume of grass we’ve had this summer, we’d expect them to have thrived.

After sorting them into groups according to size and breed, he sprayed them up and then headed out early the next morning to Clitheroe Market. Paul has been selling through Clitheroe for the past 20 years and is always well looked after there. More importantly, however, it has a very good cafe, a point that can be a real deal breaker for Paul!

Jill Thorp's home, Stott Hall Farm in between the lanes of the M62. Picture by James Hardisty.

Jill Thorp's home, Stott Hall Farm in between the lanes of the M62. Picture by James Hardisty.

Despite getting a thorough soaking the night before, the lambs stood up well in the ring and fetched a good price. The first of the black lambs were sold, much to John-William’s annoyance, who was under the impression that they were all his and were to be kept.

Paul and John-William attended Penistone Show last weekend with the Woodlands whilst I stayed home. I didn’t hear from them all day and was starting to worry when they pulled into the yard. Despite carrying the trophy for the Champion Whitefaced Woodland and the President’s Cup, John-William was not a happy chappy. Apparently the judge was rubbish and Daddy cheated. No red rosette, just one blue one and that was that. Daddy’s tup had been naughty, reared up, tried to knock him over and most definitely should not have won. There was no placating him that night and he went to bed tired and tearful.

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The following morning we went show-jumping with Bren, John-William planning a win, whilst I just hoped they’d get round in one piece. Unfortunately Bren was feeling rather fresh and after landing over the warm-up jump, took the bit between his teeth and set off. He started with a couple of excitable bucks, nothing too serious which resulted in shrieks of laughter from his little jockey.

The humour soon left his face though as Bren decided the large open field was too tempting and, after one enormous buck, set off at speed. I watched on, helplessly, hoping that Bren would soon run out of steam. They made it to the top together and the pace thankfully slowed, but as he turned and spotted all the ponies at the bottom, started to accelerate. Like a snowball hurtling down a hillside, the pair of them gathered momentum.

Bren, who on a good day couldn’t out-run a fat man, had now gone into Red Rum mode, whilst his slightly alarmed passenger frantically pulled on the reins. As they neared the anxious parents, several ran forward, arms waving, desperate to stop the slightly overweight and out of control little Welsh mountain pony.

When he eventually ground to a halt, I felt the panic leave me and realised that despite what could have been, my little cowboy had sat like a pro, never panicked or baled out, just followed my desperate yells of “get your heels down, sit up straight, you’re OK” and made it back in one piece. Through his rather flushed cheeks he said: “Well, Mum, it’s to be hoped he’s got enough energy to win a red rosette now.”