Hayley has a lamb and it follows her everywhere, she's even taken it to the baseball fields in Fairland with her. Hayley Hutchinson has been showing animals at the Ottawa County Fair since she was four years old.
Hayley has shown sheep, hogs, poultry, horses, and cattle, but she loves showing lambs the most. She has shown sheep for the last four years.
“I started with bottle calves, and went on to hogs, from there I moved on to goats from goats to lambs,” Hayley said.
This year Hayley, who will be a Sophomore at Fairland High School, is entering her sheep and her horse in the fair.
Hayley said hogs are easier to show than sheep and she personally finds it more challenging to show lambs.
“Hogs you don't have to focus on their framability, but sheep you've got to brace it, you've got to teach it how to brace. You can't just buy it and be able to brace it. A hog you just go in and move it around,” Hayley said.
“It makes me know I'm working for something. It teaches me responsibility and gives me something to do,” she said.
Hayley got interested in showing after watching her sisters and brother showing animals in local fairs. She's won several ribbons and honors for her livestock.“I've placed Grand and Reserve for sheep, goats, and hogs,” she said.
According to Hayley she works daily with her lamb; bathing him, cleaning his hooves, ears and eyes and training him how to “brace,” and walking him on a halter. Hayley feeds,waters, exercises and grooms her lamb in preparation for showing him at the county fair. Hayley says she spends hours with her lamb.
“I'm outside all the time with my lamb,” Hayley said.
The more time she can spend with her lamb the better, because it gets him used to being around people for when he is in the arena, makes him more familiar with her and develops his muscle.
She named her lamb 'Tony Mutton'. “He likes to chew on my Tony Llama boots and my friend calls him Mutton, so I added that,” Hayley explained.
She purchased Tony at Perkins, Oklahoma at the the Oklahoma Club Connection Lamb Sale. Hayley said her FFA Advisor at Fairland, Mark Stunkard helped her choose the right lamb to purchase.
She looked for the biggest frame, growth and development of the animal when she purchased her lamb.
“They can be expensive but aren't as expensive as goats,”she said.
“My sister, Cheyenne Moran, and Mark Stunkard have been helpful,” Hayley said, “ They've helped me a lot and give me advice.”
On show day Hayley says she will wash, shear and clip Tony to get him clean, it's called “fitting,” and shows him at his best. Tools used in fitting a sheep are electrical shears, hand shears, a wool card and a spray bottle.
Hayley has practiced “setting up” her lamb so when the lamb is stopped, its feet should be positioned squarely under the corners of its body to show the side view of the animal. She demonstrated this by putting her leg and knee against the sheep's neck to keep him from moving and to keep him secure.
After her sheep is set up, Hayley scratches him on the belly, which calms the animal and helps keeps his belly from sagging and positioned.
From the side the judge is looking for a clean animal that is muscular, but not fat. Lambs should have a level top, long body, bulging leg, shallow depth, have a slim belly, and a clean breast and be tall.
“Bracing” helps to keep solid control of the lamb in the show ring, and is used to show the rear view of the animal to the judge. Bracing is done by placing your left leg under the lambs jaw and neck and holding it firmly against your leg.
For the back view a judge looks for characteristics in an animal that it is deeply muscled, has a rounded top and a twist that is clean and deep.
She said her favorite part of showing animals is being around the other kids that are showing. Hayley went to a four day “Lamb Camp” this summer in Oklahoma, to learn more sheep showing skills and tips.
“I learned the basics really, showmanship skills, proper grooming and I met people all the way from Oregon,” she said.
Asked if she ever had an animal that was a problem, “Yeah, I've been drug a few times,”she said with a laugh.
Hayley is also showing a Paint Gelding horse in the fair. Hayley also runs barrels, poles and flags with her horse at rodeos and shodeos.
“Sometimes I stop everything and focus on the fair,”she said.
Hayley says she plans to continue showing animals at fairs in the future and loves being involved. “Seeing how everyone acts with their lambs, and how they show them is fun. We share ideas and everybody helps each other,' she said.