I train and show dairy cows. That’s not something you hear everyday, is it? One fantastic thing about being at Clemson University is that we have dairy farms for animal vet science classes. Now, I’m not an AVS major, but I love cows; and when I got here, I decided that I would find a club that would let me at least see a cow up close once. Guess what? I did! I am now a show team member on the Clemson Dairy Science Show Team.
This means that for at least 3 hours a week, usually more, I get to put on my coveralls and boots and go out to the farm. Last semester I had this big heifer named Mimosa pudica, but we just called her Mims. This semester I have a baby heifer named Rosemary, and compared to Mims, she is much more friendly and easier to work with. A heifer, by the way, is a female cow that hasn’t given birth yet. Rosemary loves to eat crackers and cookies, and loves cuddles. After training, my partner and I sit with her and have snack time and get love.
Okay, so I hang out with cows and train them, but what does that entail? Well let me tell you! I dress up like a milk man (in all white) and walk my heifer in a show ring. We work hard inside and outside the ring to position her feet correctly, keep her head up, and walk at a good pace. We attend shows like this at livestock shows, and at state fairs. Last semester we went to the SC State Fair to show with Mims and we slept with the cows in the ring, and got second and fifth place ribbons. The second place was for conformation, where the judge judges the heifer more than the trainer and the fifth place was for showmanship where the trainer is judged for how he or she works with the animal.
When I am not out taking pictures, you can bet that I am out on the farm working with the heifers! Oh, and if you are ever in Clemson, there is an ice cream place in the Hendrix Building The (55 Exchange) and they make their ice cream from the milk from our cows! You have GOT to try it!
Pictured above is Rae.