Thursday, March 31, 2016

Update on Iris!

Hello everyone!  I have been very busy lately with one special friend.  Her name is Iris and she is my puppy.  In case you don't know the story about Iris, the following is a little summary:

"Lily had her puppies. She had a litter of six and they are all healthy." I contacted Kelly, from Hopping Acres, a few times just checking in on them and every time, she would make sure that I knew that there was a waiting list for these puppies. I wasn't too thrilled to hear that, but I was glad that all of the puppies were going to permanent homes. After two weeks, Christmas came around. Every year, we go on a scavenger hunt for one of our presents. This year, we did one for mom, then Tyler, Ashley, and finally me. I was a little bit confused when mom sat me down in a chair in front of the computer and started to play a slideshow of all of my animal projects through 4-H. Towards the end, there was a picture of Dexter, our Bichon we lost earlier this year, and it said, "Gone but not forgotten." The next picture was a picture of my favorite puppy out of Lily's litter and it said, "Do you have room for me?" I balled my eyes out! I couldn't believe my eyes! I named her Iris and she was going to be my puppy! Iris is a Karakachan puppy.  Karakachans are a Bulgarian breed that are rare.  I couldn't wait to pick her up on January 31st! It's safe to say that I had the best Christmas ever."

Since January 31st, I have been working very hard with her.  In fact, she already knows how to "sit", "lay down ", "stay" and "give paw"!  She is a very smart dog and I really look forward to agility with her.  I have started introducing her the agility equipment already!  I think that her favorite so far is either the bridge or the tunnel.  She is also trying to learn how to be off leash without running off.  Sometimes she is a perfect angel, but other times she likes to check things out I guess, but she loves treats when she listens!  One of the challenges so far is the teeter totter. She is scared of the fact that it drops down when she is still on it. I am desensitizing her to the idea and she is warming up to it. I am very proud of her and I really look forward to our future.


Monday, March 7, 2016


The first weekend of February was filled with friends, family, lots of rabbits, and more. It was time for the Pennsylvania State Rabbit Breeders Association convention. The excitement for this event starts in December as I prepare my applications for competing in the royalty contest. There are three applications which include the following: management (you have questions about the management of your rabbitry), achievement (you have a few questions to answer about your accomplishments in your project), and finally royalty (questions on why you are running for royalty). These applications take a lot of time and effort. I always complete my applications and try to get them in early in case there are any computer glitches.   Once my applications are sent in and I am signed up for the contest, it's time to study!  I study a lot for this event because there is a lot that I have to put into each contest. I always enjoy participating in royalty.  I also have to groom and prepare my rabbits I think are in top condition to go to PaSRBA. I definitely try to pick rabbits that I have worked really hard with as angora rabbits take months to be ready for a show. 

The first day of PaSRBA is Friday. We usually go around lunchtime considering that mom helps immensely with the youth contests, Ashley helps with the the show, and I help unload the rabbits and with the show set up. 

When we started the youth contests, it was a little bit crazy since some of my times were a little bit close together. I participated in the first Art Sweinhart Memorial youth award. Art was very big influence helping youth improve with their rabbits and always being there for anyone who needed him. He was very special to my family and always will be. I was honored to be one of the ten chosen to prepare a presentation on their rabbit project. You had to bring a doe and two of her offspring for your presentation. I had a PowerPoint presentation and I talked about a project in which I introduced Satin rabbits into my Satin Angora lines to improve the faults I was having with my Satin Angora rabbits. The Art Sweinhart Memorial Contest was the first thing that I completed on Friday night. I then participated in Breed-ID. Breed-ID is a contest where you have to completely identify 25 rabbits or cavies. I thought that I did very well.  I then participated in rabbit showmanship and I was very happy on how that went. I now had time to compete in judging. For judging, you have to judge four classes of four rabbits or cavies and hope that you place them in the as close to the order as an ARBA Certified Judge has placed them earlier in the day.  Many breeders loan their rabbits to the youth for these contests, making it possible for them to even take place.  Once all the "borrowed" rabbits arrive, the judge will go through them and give his placings and reasoning to the chairperson of the event in preparation for the youth to go through in groups of 4 to try their hand at it as well.   After all of the contests, it is time to relax until everyone is finished.  I then help the volunteers load up and pack up.  The volunteers are great because they are always there helping to run things smoothly. 

On Saturday morning, it was test and interview day.  I always get a bit nervous for the interview, but this year, I was excited!  I don't know why, but I was; surprisingly, it was the best I've felt after an interview yet!  I was very proud of myself and how I competed in everything!  I also thought that I did very well on the test.  Now, we  had to wait until the evening when they announce the awards at the banquet.  During the day, I showed my rabbits.  I showed two American Fuzzy Lops, two Satin Angoras, one Giant Angora, one English Lop, and one Californian.  All of my rabbits placed well, but my one Satin Angora, Bow, won best of breed and received excellent comments.  I was so proud of that since she was out of my own rabbits and she is 100% from my rabbitry. 

The day was coming closer and closer to the banquet so I left to prepare.  When I walked in, I was greeted by a lot of my friends and we sat down to wait before we ate.  After dinner, the awards began.  The first award given was the Adult and Youth Service Award and to my surprise, I was announced as the recipient!  I was very proud to except that award and couldn't believe all the wonderful things that Mrs. Valerie Mayle had to say about me. Next, they announced the Art Swienhart memorial youth award. I was nervous to see who won because I wanted someone that knew Art very well to win. I was not expecting my name to be called, but it was! All of that work, and I won for the first time! I was so proud!  It was a very humbling moment for me as Art has been so influential in the rabbit world.  He is missed dearly and I will treasure that award always.  I also will continue to work on my project to continue improving my lines.  The next award given was the sweepstakes award and rabbit youth exhibitor of the year was awarded to me! I was shocked!  After that, youth choice award was announced and my mom, Angie, won! I am so proud of her! 

Art Sweinhart Award

Finally, the youth contest awards were given. They always start with the Management and Achievement applications.  I placed second in both categories.  Next, they announced breed ID.  I won Breed ID in my age category! Can you believe that? Also, my Breed ID team won second against all of the other teams! In judging, I did not place, but a lot of my friends did and I am proud of them for it!  I also placed first in showmanship.  They began announcing the royalty... When they begin, they start with the youngest category and work their way up to King and Queen. They began getting closer and closer to my category. I knew that I was competing with a lot of girls who work hard in their projects too so I wasn't sure who would win. The announcement was, "And your 2016 PaSRBA Duchess is Madison Shaw." I was speechless! The 2016 royalty court is wonderful and I can't wait to see how this year unfolds.
Youth Exhibitor of the year

Getting my sash and crown

I just won!!
I love my family! 
The 2016 royalty court