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Family success with Holmlea flock

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By Zachary Hannay
Family success with Holmlea flock

ONE Eastriggs family are having an amazing time in the show ring so far this year with their small flock of pedigree Zwartbles sheep.

John Thorburn along with son Allister and granddaughter Islay, enjoyed an incredible 2023, but they are looking to better that in 2024.

They have covered hundreds of miles so far to compete at various shows, including Ayr, Northumberland, Cumberland, the Three Counties and Cheshire.

Ali said: “Dad is still the main man at home as he spends his time looking after the 60 plus Zwartbles.

“He enjoys dressing the sheep to an extremely high standard in preparation for the agricultural shows. It gives him great satisfaction when he watches his sheep doing well in the show ring.”

Successes in 2024 so far includes:

Holmlea Karenza – breed champion at Ayr Show and breed champion at Northumberland County Show.

Zwartbles national overall champion at Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern; Zwartbles national female champion at Royal Three Counties; interbreed champion at Royal Three Counties.

Breed champion at Royal Cheshire County show and interbreed champion at Cheshire.

Holmlea Lady Islay – 1st gimmer class at Cumberland County Show; breed champion at Cumberland; 1st gimmer class at Cheshire; reserve breed champion at Cheshire.

Holmlea Maximus – 1st tup lamb at Royal Three Counties; tup lamb breed champion at Royal Three Counties.

Holmlea Madonna – 1st ewe lamb and reserve breed champion at Cumberland; 1st ewe lamb at Cheshire.

Holmlea Lady Islay, Madonna and Leonardo were Zwartbles national group of three champions at Royal Three Counties.

Meanwhile, Eastriggs Primary pupil Islay has had fantastic success as a young handler.

At the British Zwartbles National show – 11 yrs and under Championship – she was awarded first prize.

She was then required to go against the older group winners and she was then awarded the overall young handlers’ national championship award. A fantastic achievement with her favourite Zwartbles Holmlea Lady Islay.

The successes continued at Ayr and Northumberland County Shows where she also won young handlers.

Ali said: “This year Islay has taken it in her stride to show Zwartbles in all breed classes and she is enjoying great success and loves beating her dad in the show ring.”

Special show sheep presently in the flock are Holmlea Karenza, Holmlea Lady Islay, Holmlea Madonna and Holmlea Maximus and Leonardo.

The family’s next outing is Skelton Show. Holmlea flock have enjoyed a two week break to recharge the batteries and allow the show sheep to freshen up.


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