Q. What sort of people are attracted to keeping Wensleydales?
A. All sorts! Professional farmers, of course, plus those who are or have been
successful in their veterinary, military, financial, commercial, medical,
technical, teaching, law etc. careers and seek another challenge in life.
You name it – we’ve got them.
Q. I quite fancy showing. Do Wensleydales stand any chance in inter-breed competition?
A. You have got to be joking! Wensleydales have a presence, size and
character, together with superb wool, that catches a judge’s eye. The breed
has had supreme awards at most of the top County and Rare Breed shows,
including the Royal Show.
Q. I appreciate that by clipping a potential show sheep in a standing
position (with shears pointing down) one gets a better finish for a
shearling entry, but presumably this ruins the fleece?
A. Not necessarily. For example, Ruth Pedley’s supreme fleece awards in 2002
at the Royal Show, Great Yorkshire Show and the NSA National event were all
clipped in this manner.
Q. When preparing a Wensleydale yearling ewe in full wool for the show ring, how long does it take to wash and comb all that wool?
A. Never comb the wool unless you want a frizzy mess! Wash the wool, or dip the sheep in clean water and allow sufficient time to dry naturally. On the day, simply pick out all of the straw to present a clean fleece. The fleece should be naturally open; if it is excessively matted, clip the sheep and show her as a shearling instead.
Q. All breeds have some significant disadvantage. What about Wensleydales?
A. They tend to become addictive.