Please stop.

2 02 2015

hand over

“Comments please!”

“For sale!!”*

How many photos have you seen, just like this, which ask for comments or offer the rabbit for sale?  (If you’re on Facebook or peruse rabbit breeder websites, the answer is, “a lot.”)  Our non-rabbit friends and significant others see these and ask, “Why do you hold your hands over their heads?”

That’s actually a very good question, and the answer is, “because someone, somewhere, started an extremely bad habit.”

Many of us use the Internet to post photos of our rabbits, sometimes just to display what we’re proud of, other times to learn, or to market our stock.  These aren’t bad things, but we always have to remember that a photo of a rabbit is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional object.  A brag is a brag, it’s never bad.  Critiques and sales are different, though, in that the information presented by a photo is incomplete.  Some people don’t have access to shows or knowledgeable mentors and, while those things are a better choice, have to rely on the internet.  Others prefer to pre-sell rabbits via photo, such is their choice and right as is yours not to participate if you prefer to buy hands-on.  For the purposes of this, let’s presume that a photo can give you some information for a critique, and can allow you to determine whether or not a sale rabbit warrants further attention.  But I maintain that in either scenario, the photographer should try to present as much information as possible, and this type of photo just doesn’t cut it.

It’s most common in commercial breeds and in compact breeds who don’t pose with a higher head mount and a stance requiring the rabbit to rest lightly on the front feet.  It seems to be an attempt to show that the rabbit has a good topline, and while this is important, it’s hardly the only measure of type or good type.

I’m betting you that, if I posted this, I’d get some, “good type,” comments on this junior doe.  (My rabbit, my hand)

Really?

Well, she does seem to have a good topline in this photo.  Her rear feet seem to be somewhere in the vicinity of her stifle (this coordinates to the knee joint in humans, and a rabbit’s rear toes should align with it) and her front feet are in the general eye region.  But friends, there’s a lot missing.

Let’s start with depth.  She does appear to have good depth in this photo, but length, depth and width in rabbits are relative.  With my hand pushing her shoulder, it’s hard to tell if she has a correct, short coupled body.  She might, or I might be covering up a long shoulder, a low shoulder with a late start, a narrow shoulder ruining the tapered side lines, or even a hooked spine.  And width?  She could be narrow as a snake, there’s nothing to indicate this one way or another.

Dutch do have more points in front of the shoulder than many other breeds, I’ll elaborate on that later, but there are also a lot of typing clues missing by obliterating the head and ears.  The Dutch standard calls for a well rounded head, stocky ears, and medium bone.  There’s not much here to indicate bone, but if you’ve handled a lot of rabbits you’ve probably noticed that better bone tends to go along with a rounder head and a stockier ear.  She could have all of this, or she could have a narrow, weaselly head, thin ears, and fine bone.  It doesn’t end there, as rabbits with longer heads and ears and finer bone have a tendency to be longer and narrower in body.  There’s also no way to tell if she’s full in the lower hindquarter or if she has correct muscling over the spine and hips.  She could very well be pinched and pinny for all we really know.

So what do we really know about the type of this rabbit from the photo?  That she can be made to look like she has a good topline.  That’s it.

Each breed has its own point distribution, and Dutch place half of these on markings (with nearly half of that being above the shoulder) making this even more heinous.  While we encourage breeders to focus on type first, markings are helpful in determining show potential in culling and to make sure we’re correcting or at least not cementing common faults when buying brood stock.  What can you tell of this rabbit?  Absolutely nothing of her blaze, cheeks, neck and undercut.  She has stops, although their length can’t be assessed as the whole foot isn’t seen.  1/3 the length of what?  The only marking visible is a little less than half a saddle.  With the saddle worth 10 points, let’s say we can give her 4 for this part being well placed and a little crooked (or is her fur just ruffled?).  With the markings carrying a total of 50 points, we can assess 5 and give 4…that’s 8% of the total marking value that can even be evaluated.  Is that enough for you?

Other breeds place a lot of emphasis on color or fur.  Color is highly subject to distortion in the light.  This is a black doe, but on this table under these lights, I can make a dark blue appear almost black.  Natural diffuse (cloudy) light is the most accurate, but again not all computer screens register color identically.  (Try shopping for clothes on a laptop vs. a desktop.)  And fur?  You might be able to see some sheen and luster, but length and texture aren’t likely.

Most of us wouldn’t want to go on a blind date with a person who had a paper bag on their head, so don’t do your rabbits the same injustice.  We’ve all developed bad habits and somewhere along the line, we’ve all succumbed to bad information.  Using hand over the head photos to solicit culling advice or to buy or sell rabbits just isn’t wise.  If you don’t feel your rabbits look good enough in hands-off photos, I would suggest you enjoy posting your brag photos and solicit feedback and make sales in person.

no

*She’s not for sale.  Sorry.  I actually quite like her, next appearance NDS.

Edit 12:55 PM 2/3/15:  This seems to be going a bit viral, at least in the rabbit community.  Wow!  There also seems to be quite a bit of misunderstanding.  This post has nothing to do with posing rabbits during judging or for your own evaluation.  As I stated, when you have your hands on a rabbit you not only get a three-dimensional view but you’re able to feel it as well.  This is a significant amount of information that is lost in a two-dimensional photo, and to remove even more by putting a hand over the head leaves you with something of very little use in evaluating and especially purchasing.

Advertisements




Tortoise Dutch Color

8 08 2012

 One of the funniest things people say to me at shows now:  “Oh, Briony, you’re getting into Torts!”

My first Dutch, purchased in 1991, was a Tort.  Torts were all I raised as a youth breeder until 1997 when I added Blue and later Black.  I was fortunate and thrilled to win Best of Breed at my first ARBA Convention in 1994 with a Tort.  When I rebuilt in 2006 my focus turned to the Blacks and Blues as I had something of my own to work with.  I got some Torts, but without anything of my own I lost the passion I once had and sold out in late 2008.  I may have been done with them, but they weren’t done with me.  Only weeks after I sold my last few I had a surprise in the nestbox…Torts!  (Actually, they were born on day 29 and looked at first glance to be pure white, it was only after a couple of days and much cursing that I realized what they were!)   My friend Gene Knieling had the same surprises in his boxes, and we decided that maybe they were telling us something.  We began breeding and trading and my drive to breed the perfect Tort was rekindled.

Ideal Tort color isn’t what I like, what another breeder likes or what any judge at any show likes, it’s what the Standard of Perfection describes.  We should breed by the Standard and judges should judge by the Standard.  Yes, there will be personal preference.  Some judges will fault lighter Torts more heavily, some judges will fault darker Torts more heavily, but each should be looking for the same ideal.  If they aren’t, don’t take their advice.  If you’re told a Tort that doesn’t match the Standard has good color or one that approximates the Standard has major color faults, well, you paid your entry fee and got an opinion.  That’s all.  Don’t let anyone, even a judge, sway you from breeding for the ideal described in the Standard.

I’ll stop here and preface the rest of this by saying that the rest of this article is my opinion and my interpretation based on over 20 years of raising and looking at Tort Dutch and 12 years of judging Torts in every breed that accepts them.  Feel free to take it for what you believe it’s worth.

 “Color is to be a bright, clean orange” Bright: not dull or dark.  Clean: free of smut.  Orange: not brown, not yellow, but orange:

Image

Orange

Image

Orange

Not orange

There are a lot of dark Torts on the table with smutty backs.  There are others that may not be noticeably smutty but lack brightness and cleanliness.  If you look at most of these rabbits closely, their coats are interspersed with black guard hairs.  Sometimes you really have to look, but when you do, either by taking the rabbits outside or by scissoring the fur between your fingers and really getting your face down there and looking, you’ll see them.  They shouldn’t be there.  You may not be able to spot the black hairs at a few paces, but you will certainly notice a clean evenness about a rabbit that doesn’t have them.  This is the ideal.  Bright, clean orange.

“blending into smoky blue shading over the lower rump, and carrying well down the haunches.”  What is smoky blue shading?  A few years ago, there was some talk that perhaps the Standard was describing a lighter blue shading such as that found on Blue Torts.  This is not the case.  First of all, the biggest clue the Standard gives for our ideal being a Black Tort is the requirement for a dark brown eye.  Dilutes of any kind possess and require a blue-gray eye.  Second, it doesn’t ask for blue, but smoky blue.  What is smoky blue?  I grew up in oil country.  To me, smoky blue isn’t the wispy smoke coming from a chimney.  It’s oil fire smoke, a dark, opaque slate blue smoke.

Smoky blue

Smoky blue shadings

Sparse shadings that are not smoky blue

Combined with a bright, clean orange it makes for a striking contrast.

 “The top color should carry down into the under color, blending into a dark cream color next to the skin. Upper portion of tail color should match top body color.”  This implies good depth of color.  What’s that?  How far the top color continues down the hair shaft toward the skin.  The farther down, the better!  Good depth of color is easier to achieve on a shorter coat of fur.  The correct orange top color tends to blend into a dark cream, for whatever reason the darker, smuttier top colors blend into a lighter cream.  The top of the tail should match the top of the back; bright, clean orange.

“The shadings on the head should be the darkest at the whisker bed, blending into lighter shadings on the jaws, darkening again at the ear base, and blending up the ears to match body color.”  Notice this doesn’t say the whole head should be covered in shadings (see rabbit above).  They belong in specific places: on the whisker bed, the jaws, the ear base and blended up the ears.  The other parts of the head should be bright, clean orange.  On rabbits with correctly placed shadings, you’ll often see some shading around the eyes and on the spot below the eye where whiskers grow from.  I don’t think this can be avoided nor should it.  But there should still be contrast and blending between the orange and the shadings.

Correctly placed shadings

“The smoky blue shading is to include the underside of the tail.”  The tail color is to match the color of the shadings – smoky blue.  Hold that thought.

“Faults include white hairs, smut or smudge throughout the orange color, lack of bold shadings, underside of tail light in color.” White hairs, except those that are caused by pulled or chewed fur, aren’t something you should keep in any variety as they tend to produce more of the same.  Smut and smudge through the orange color and lack of bold shadings are to be faulted, therefore reinforcing the contrast between the bright, clean orange top color and smoky blue shadings.  “Bold” also indicates that these shadings should be dark, like oil fire smoke.  Light tails which do not have smoky blue shading are to be faulted.

 “Disqualifications from Competition: Complete absence of shadings. White underside of tail.”  Complete absence of shadings is self-explanatory.  This is a Tort that’s at the extreme light end of the spectrum.  While I haven’t seen any I would say completely lacked shading, it’s possible.

As for white tails: some of you may agree with this, some of you may not.  I don’t believe white tails in Torts exist.

I only see one white tail here.

I believe faded tails are the problem.  We’ve all seen Torts with smoky blue bellies and light tails.  We’ve seen very light Torts with very light tails.  But even if you compare the lightest Tort tail to the tail of a REW you’ll see that the Tort’s tail isn’t really white.  In my opinion, if a rabbit has a true white tail, it isn’t a Tort.

General disqualifications cover some other issues seen in Torts, such as blue or chocolate (or even lilac) Torts, which are disqualified as a non-recognized variety.  Blues and lilacs are easy to spot as they’re noticeably lighter and have blue-gray eyes.  Chocolates can be tougher, but if you look closely at the shadings (the ears are the easiest place to do this) you’ll see that they aren’t smoky blue but brown.

In my observation, the biggest fault in Tort Dutch right now is a scarcity of rabbits with bright, clean orange color over the back.  Tort color is like adjusting the bass and treble on a stereo –  we’re looking to achieve the correct balance between cleanliness of color and boldness of shadings.

Clean backs AND dark shadings?  Yes, it is possible to create.  The Torts I began with in the early 1990’s had this color.  Their lineage was from top National breeders who worked hard to perfect it.  I know, some of you will think I’ve prematurely become an old-timer who reminisces about the good old days of Tort color.  I was a middle-school-aged girl at the time and played with my rabbits constantly, not much of a day went by without one coming into the house to sit on my lap and so I do remember them well.  None of them had any black guard hairs, and while their shadings varied in degrees, some did have dark, bold shadings.  (Lesson to parents: Let your kids play with their rabbits – you never know what they’re soaking up!)  While I’ll be the last person to disparage our effort to improve type on Dutch, I do believe our emphasis on this in the past several years has led us to lose some of the focus on color (in all varieties) that some of our older breeders had.  Type is very important, but so is color!  It’s worth 10 points, the same as the saddle and the stops.  Think about it.

GC Briony’s D19, aka “Callie.” BOB 1994 ARBA Convention. Sire and dam purchased from Bob Bergene, lines included Bach, Pecaric and Billups.





Long time, no blog!

9 11 2011

It’s been a very busy fall for me!  Besides working full time and taking on the regular (full) slate of shows, I’ve started school full-time and participated in out-of-state weddings and baby showers.  How do I do it?  You’ve got me.

The show season started with a double in Abilene, most of mine were still pretty young but I won BOS in both shows with a young blue SB who got his second and third legs.  Rick won BOB in both with a cute black JD and went on to win RIS!

The next weekend, I judged in Washington.  I spent a lot of my time in my hotel room doing homework, but had a great time.  There was a good Dutch entry, and I also judged nice groups of Dwarfs and Hollands and got to “meet” some Facebook friends in person!

Next, I packed up to judge in Brockton, MA.  I love shows in New England, they seem to have (at least) one every weekend, and are a tight-knit group.  This trip was extra-special for me as I got to see Wayne MacKinnon, one of my Dutch mentors for the first time in many years.  I’d gotten back in touch with him via Facebook (ironically, I received his friend request the day I left Massachussetts in April) and invited him to the show.

When I was a youth breeder attending my first National shows, Wayne was the top breeder and I was totally in awe of him.  I was introduced to him by a mutual friend and was happy to be allowed to help water his rabbits as he put them away.  For whatever reason, he took me under his wing and was one of several Dutch breeders who cheered me on to the ARBA Rabbit Queen title in 1997.   At the Portland convention in 1998 I was helping water his rabbits and he showed me a beautiful black junior doe and asked what I thought of her.  “Wow!” pretty much summed it up!  I was later in the breed booth when another breeder (who was first on the list to look at his sale rabbits) came up and told me he’d tried to buy her but was told she was mine.  Mine?!?  I happily accepted my first black, paid much too little for her, and named her Aphrodite.  She was my first Best in Show winner and convinced me that no, blacks weren’t boring!  For the next several years I enjoyed getting to know him more, got some more excellent rabbits, and soaked up everything he would teach me about Dutch.  He had a lot of influence in shaping my idea of a perfect Dutch (deep, smooth body) as well as being a great example of generosity and sportsmanship.  Several years ago, he stopped raising rabbits due to health reasons.  I hadn’t seen him since, so was thrilled when he came to the show.

Of course we talked rabbits, and he taught me again that one can be both competitive and generous.  He’s the kind of person who can express something kind of deep with a dry sense of humor.  I can be guilty of wanting to keep everything good, but he reminded me that you can’t hoard your line and that it’s better to share the good attributes of your line.  I wished I didn’t have to judge and could’ve spent more time with him, but enjoyed watching him give advice to a youth breeder, the next generation.  Wayne also brought me a very special gift: his show jacket.  He said it had a couple of patches on it I might like to take off and use.  I asked him if he was crazy, there wasn’t any way I was taking it apart!  Back when I started raising rabbits, everyone had a show coat, usually a lab coat.  White or blue, short or long, with our names over one pocket and sometimes rabbitry names or awards embroidered on the back.  We bought patches for our breed clubs, our local clubs, and Conventions we attended and occasionally received them as awards, so the coats were like a wearable personal history.  I saved up my Christmas money to buy my first, and my second was awarded to me as the ARBA Rabbit Queen.  So receiving his was an honor, sort of passing the mantle, and moved me to tears.  It does have a couple of really neat patches, one of the first ADRC patches and a New England Dutch Club patch, but they’re staying put.  It’s a little big on me, but I plan to roll the sleeves and wear it at Nationals.  Not only is it something I’ll treasure, but something that reminds me that being a good influence lasts longer than your involvement in the hobby.  Plus, I hope it brings me some of the same good luck on the tables as it brought him!

The next weekend was our State show.  Friday night is the Dutch specialty, which is usually fairly small but a lot of fun.  I won BOB with a Tort JB – my first BOB since getting back into the variety!  Yes, he does have a little collar drag, but it was a small show and not a lot of Convention rabbits were present!

The next day was the all-breed show.  I won BOB with Luxury, a Black JD who I call my “butterface” doe – she has kind of a narrow head and blaze but everything behind is very, very nice!  (You know, “everything looks good but-her-face?”).  Her parents both have nice heads, so I’m not quite sure what happened.  But I love her compact body and gorgeous stops, so she’s staying around.  On Sunday, she even took 2nd RIS!  It’s the third year in a row I’ve had a Dutch in the top three at State!

The next weekend was spent with Convention preparations…a post soon to follow…





Cruel Summer

11 08 2011

This summer has been hot.  Really hot.  I’m a hot weather person, and even I was to the point of begging for mercy.  90 degrees is fine, I even enjoy the occasional 100 (with low low low humidity) but 112, as it was the day I judged my county’s fair, is brutal.  Thankfully, the last few days have brought welcome relief!

Lest you think we’re complaining (Kansas weather does leave a lot to be desired, although outsiders think it’s nice that we have all four seasons.  I suppose if you count the average 2.5 days of spring or fall during the year, that does equal four seasons…) it’s been, on record, the hottest summer I’ve lived through.

A few stats: 

  • We average 10 days per year of 100 degree-plus weather.  As of July 31, we were at 36.  That’s the most we’ve ever had by that date.  I believe we’re at 41 now.  A few people want to break the record for most 100 degree-plus days in a year.  We call them sadists.
  • We had 24 days over 100 in July, tying the all-time record in 1980
  • We lived through the two hottest days of my lifetime, both at 112
  • We had the hottest average temperature for June and July on record, at 85.4.  This takes the high and low for each day and averages them.

Needless to say, it’s made caring for animals a difficult and time-consuming task.  I’d be lying if there weren’t days I felt almost resentful of them for the time I had to spend and my inability to go anywhere for more than a few hours at a time.  Getting up early to water, bringing a few in the house before work, taking a late lunch to put out ice bottles and re-water during the hottest part of the day, then picking up and cleaning said ice bottles to re-freeze and waiting until midnight-ish to feed made for long, sweaty days.  I got up near sunrise several weekend mornings to clean at the only time it was both light outside and bearable.  But we made it through, and everyone is in remarkably good condition considering that most weren’t eating much.  I still maintain that a hard winter is worse (snow to tromp through, coveralls to put on, windshields to scrape) but most are disagreeing with me!

Just as the heat was starting to break, the Johnson County Fair rolled around.  It’s a small morning show, but the lack of shows plus cabin fever prompted a lot of excitement.  I packed up a few young  juniors (the good ones are mostly blue, again!) and since Merry was looking good, made the last-minute decision to take her along.

Two months after having her first litter, she won BOB in a large Dutch entry, and went on to take Best 4 Class!

Not the best picture of her, but she was not interested in posing.  I think she was upset with me for reneging on my promise to retire her.  BOS went to a sharp Black JB owned by my friend Rick.  This show picks a Reserve 4-Class and 6-Class, so when Merry was announced as Best 4, the BOS Dutch came up to compete for Reserve.  And he won!

Really not posing…I think she thought he was cute. 

The young juniors are growing, and I’m excited about the late September and October shows, and of course, Convention!  Merry is bred again, but I’m not ruling out a return trip for her…





Day 3 – Osaka Show

17 06 2011
We woke up Saturday morning, were met at the hotel, and then walked down the street, around the corner, and up the stairs to the showroom!  It was in sort of a shopping center, but in a very nice, well-lit room.  It was a double show, with each of us judging one full show.  (Click on any picture to enlarge)
 

Judging area

 

Our view from the judging tables

 

The club's banner, signed by visiting judges

 

The beautiful awards

 

This trophy is engraved with BIS winners from every show

 

The plaques for my show, engraved with my name

 

Plaques for Scott's show, engraved with his name

 

Rosettes for BIS, also with our names

 

BOB, BOS, BOG, BOSG, BOV, BOSV rosettes for my show

 

and for Scott's

 

Sign at my show table with my name in English and Japanese

 

Scott's sign. These are our Facebook profile pics!

 

The hardworking show staff

We both picked the same Holland Lop SSB as Best in Show, and Chestnut Agouti Dwarf as Best Junior.  I chose a French Lop for RIS and Scott chose an Otter Dwarf.  After the show, Scott and I registered some rabbits in a tag-team effort, then we hit the road.  The show staff packed up all the equipment and awards and we caravaned to Hamamatsu, where the next day’s show was held.  It was a 3 hour trip, along with a stop for dinner.  This is dedication!

 

Food of the Day

Ramen that I ate for dinner at the travel stop. The noodles taste the same as our ramen, but it's dressed up a bit for sale! The green sheets in the back are seaweed, and the brownish strips in the middle are bamboo.

 
 
Sign of the Day

Seen at the travel stop. Go ahead and laugh, everyone did!

 
 
Bathroom of the Day

Most hotel bathrooms have a step up. You have to remember this or you can injure yourself in the morning!





It’s almost February?!?

27 01 2011

Time has flown by and I’ve obviously been negligent in keeping up with the blog!!  Long story short: I went to Convention and a couple more fall shows, got a new (ish) showmobile, had verrrry good luck with winter litters, and am getting ready to start a new show season!

ARBA Convention

Convention (in Minneapolis, MN) was great!!  The only hitch was load-in and load-out.  The Convention Center’s parking lot is approximately the size of a postage stamp and there were lines and waiting on Friday afternoon.  Saturday, Sunday, and early Thursday morning were fairly brutal!

Otherwise, it was wonderful!  We had feared bad weather, but it cooperated and was pleasant enough to walk downtown in long sleeves.  Not that anyone had to, as the showroom was attached to the hotel by a walkway.  There were several wonderful restaurants within easy walking distance (my picks: Brit’s Pub and The Newsroom – try the root beer cookies!) and the downtown area was very clean. 

ADRC Banner...although we've been around much longer than that!

The host club prepared banners depicting each breed, and these were arranged in a commons area outside the showroom.  The Dutch club’s poster boy was…Jagger!

2010 ARBA Judge's Conference

On Sunday, I joined other longtime Dutch breeders and judges to talk at the ARBA Judge’s Conference.  The ADRC organized a round-robin Dutch presentation, and my assignment was posing, handling and type.  I was honored to present, enjoyed it thoroughly, and received some great feedback from my fellow judges.  I hope other specialty clubs take an interest, as I think that a person who is both a breeder and a judge has the best perspective and knowledge of a breed!

Judging youth Dutch

On Monday morning, judging started.  I was assigned youth Dutch.  In a word, it was hard.  I last judged youth in 2005 in Indianapolis, and while there were some very nice animals at the top of the classes, the overall depth of quality has made some astounding progress.  I had some very difficult decisions to make, but enjoyed it very much!

My own fared OK, Jagger had begun to break coat about two weeks before the show, and when he arrived, was more interested in soliciting attention from everyone nearby than eating.  He was far down in the placings, which was disappointing, but he was not in shape to win.  Fortunately he is a buck and his show days are far from over!  My blue junior does, however, did very well!  Caroline, who was also breaking coat, took 9th.  Little Merry came into a lovely junior prime at the show, and placed 3rd at not quite 4 months!

 

Shows and more shows…

After a little over a week at home, I headed to the Llano Estacado RBA show in Muleshoe, TX.  While it’s not in an exciting place, this is one of my favorite shows of the year.  The weather is nice, the show facility is spacious, clean and well-lit, and the exhibitors and show officials are incredibly friendly and there to have a good time!  I judged the specialties and part of the all-breed show, and took a few Dutch along.  In Saturday’s A show, I took BOB with Blue JD Merry and BOS with a Steel JB.  Much to my surprise, Merry went on to win a Best in Show and the Best of the Best!

The next weekend, I attended the North Central Iowa Rabbit Fanciers show.  There was a large, top quality Dutch entry and a specialty show.  I was pleased to take BOV Blue in both shows, once with Caroline and once with Merry.

 

Winter litters

Raising litters in the winter is not easy, it requires luck and good mothers as it’s impossible to predict the weather 31 days in advance!  I’ve been very, very lucky and have had several litters with promising babies born since the end of October.  Blues, especially does, seem to be the predominant variety.  I prefer a little more balance, but oh well!

 

On The Road Again

The artists are in the shade, hard to see them!

The weekend of January 21 I headed to Albuquerque for the Southwest Dutch RFA double specialty show.  Another one of my favorite shows of the year, I love visiting Albuquerque!  This year my friend Chelsea was able to join me and we met up with judge Scott when we got there.  Last year Carolyn took me up the tram on Sandia Peak; this year our sightseeing was shopping in Old Town.  It’s full of adobe buildings and adorable shops with all sorts of jewelry and Southwest crafts.  There was even a rattlesnake museum!  My favorite part was buying jewelry from Native American artists who set up shop on a sidewalk along the square. 

I got a necklace with turquoise and hematite, it’s very elegant.  I love turquoise but don’t wear anything that looks Southwestern in styling because I feel like a poser, but this is lovely!  I also bought some hand-blown drinking glasses from Mexico.  (I do love shopping)  We went to lunch at a great Mexican restaurant in town, then to the new outdoor mall and Trader Joe’s.  I would’ve been in a lot of trouble if I had failed to stop there, and I carted out an entire case of Two Buck Chuck for friends and family back home! 

l-r Carolyn, Scott, me and Chelsea

While we were out and about, the rabbits stayed at Carolyn’s lovely new house.  Not only is it a nice place, but the view is stunning.  Off to one side is Sandia Peak, turn around and it overlooks the city.

Chelsea and "VKK1" with BOS, Merry and I with BOB. Scott with the beautiful awards!

After lunch and shopping, we headed back to the hotel for some rest before the show, which started at 6.  I took a few along and was hoping to get a senior leg for one of my blue does (Merry and Caroline).  Merry was really looking nice, and ended up winning Best of Breed!  Chelsea had BOS with her stunning Tort buck.  He’s 2 1/2 and still looks amazing, he’s done a lot of winning and I think there are a few breeders who are tired of losing to him and would like to see him retire 😉

Our show season here begins February 12 in Abilene, I’m excited to see how these young seniors continue through the spring, and to get some juniors on the table!





Encore

4 10 2010

After last week’s incredible (and unexpected!) success on the show table, I was excited for the Kaw Valley show in Gardner.  It was another double show, and I thought Jagger was looking even better than he had the week before.  I was hoping he’d do well, but part of the fun of a rabbit show is that you never really know what anyone else is going to bring!

Dutch were a starting breed on the A show, and he took BOB again under one of the judges who had given him a BIS the weekend before.  Some of the same rabbits were there, but he also faced tough competition from some grays.  Rick’s doe Heather took another BOS.  Dutch weren’t shown in the B show until after lunch.  I knew things were going well when that judge, who has judged several national Dutch shows and is never short on comments, said only “awful nice rabbit” as he won the class.  After choosing him BOB and the same doe BOS, he remarked that while the numbers were small (around 30) it was one of the best local showings of Dutch he had seen in a long time, and that Jagger was the best Dutch he’d seen in years.

This show chooses Best 4 and Best 6 class, and I ended up with the two judges who had picked Dutch being given 4-class for the opposite show (that all making sense?).  In the A show, several rabbits got second looks, but he won!  He was up against a New Zealand for BIS, and won again!  3 in a row!!

In the B show, he took Best 4 Class again…and again, Best in Show!!!  By this point, it was becoming a little unreal!  This was the third of three double shows to be held in the KS/MO area in three weekends, and all six Best in Shows were won by Dutch!  It’s been a really great thing for our breed, and the other breeders in the area couldn’t have been more gracious.  Rick and I had our rabbits out after the B show judging and several breeders and judges came up to take a look. 

Needless to say, I’m still very excited for Convention, and completed my entries today.  Jagger will be staying home until then to finish priming out, and I’m hoping once again that time is on my side!

l-r Briony’s Jagger, 4x BIS winner.  Lehmann’s Heather, 3x BIS winner…and future lovers!