It takes a lot of hard work to put the wow into the cow

IT’S like a scene from a fashion shoot.

There are blow-dryers, clippers of all sizes, a variety of different “beauty” products and a few little secrets as well.

But this is no fashion shoot, there are no stunning models, unless you are into the four-legged variety.

It is the dairy section of this year’s Berry Show.

As the cows enter the show ring there has been as much work done on them as there would be on a model who turns out in the pages of a fashion magazine.

They’re washed, clipped, blow-dried, shined and teased to look the best they can so they look spectacular when they take that all important first step into the ring.

And while the exhibitors and their teams feverishly prepare their animals, a lot of the hard work has already been done.

“Nutrition is the most important thing,” said Brad Gavenlock of the Braelock Stud at Berry, who along with Rob Wilson of Burnside at Jamberoo combined to produce nine entries for themselves and Jim and Karen Strong at this year’s show.

“All the real work is done back home on the farm getting them to this stage.

“This, preparing them for the ring, is really just like putting their makeup on - making them look good, like you would with models.

“We try to highlight the good things about our animals and maybe hide some of the negatives.

“And every cow has them, nothing is ever perfect.

“The first impression in a show ring can often be a lasting memory.

“You want them to enter the ring with that wow factor.”

For Mr Gavenlock and his team, work at Berry started at 3am Friday – the cows were washed, clipping touched up, backlines done and they were then  “dressed to kill” before entering the ring.

“With four different breeds we have certainly been busy,” he said.

“And each cow is different to prepare.

“Clipping [shaving the excess hair off the cow] is a real art form. We can use eight different sized blades to ensure the hair if blended perfectly.

“And a secret there is the more you wash them the better and easier the hair is to work with.”

Things like shine spray, lacquer and spray paints for hoofs are also applied, as well as fly repellent so the animals aren’t distracted by pesky insects.

“At the end of the day we can do all this work but if the cow is not up to it or if the handler doesn’t know what they are doing in the ring there is no point,” he said.

It will be the last Berry Show for Mr Gavenlock and his wife Jess, who also prepares and shows cattle, as they are relocating to the US in July. 

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