For over thirty years, Hanna has fostered a growing Agriculture program, located right here on our beautiful campus. On Friday, 8 boys who are part of the Ag program got to show off their hard work at the Sonoma Marin county fair by showing their lambs in various classes and bringing home ribbons.
The Ag program provides a host of different experiences and opportunities for skill building, from working in our small vineyard to gardening and growing vegetables. However, the largest focus of time and energy is spent on three areas: breeding sheep, market sheep, and competitive livestock judging.
The lambs they showed were bred and born at Hanna in early January, and since then the boys have been diligently working with their assigned lambs to ready them for their showring debut. Handling, bathing, shearing, and caring for them on a daily basis.
The lambs must be trained to walk by hand control for showing. After the lamb has been trained to lead on a halter, it must then learn to walk calmly with the handler holding it’s head with two hands.
In the show ring the lamb’s neck should be at a 90 degree angle out of his shoulders, ears up and forward and his head level. Handlers are required to walk beside the lamb’s front shoulder with the lamb on the right side.
Driving the lamb (“driving or bracing”) is an accepted practice in showing lambs and maximizes their muscle expression. This involves the handler moving to the front of the lamb, placing their leg into the front shoulder of the lamb and pushing into the lamb. The lamb “drives” when he learns to push back.
Correct showing procedure includes:
Handler stops walking with lamb with all four feet square.
Handler steps in front of the lamb and controls his neck and head to be held upright and forward while setting his front two feet square and then placing his rear legs square.
Handler steps into the lamb with his left leg braced into the right shoulder of the lamb with the lambs neck stretched up the handler’s leg and the lamb’s head held level and looking forward in a comfortable position.
Handler lightly pushes into the front of the lamb to make him drive back into the handler’s leg. The harder the handler pushes, the harder the lamb should drive.
There should be minimal pressure on the lambs head and his neck should be straight and in-line with his body.
This year we’re hoping to be able to become part for the Future Farmers of America program (FFA), and on July 9th, 2016 we’re holding our annual fundraising Ag BBQ to help support this effort and the boys who gain so much from our Ag and Vocational Sciences programs.
Enjoy the rest of the gallery!