EYBS: another resounding success augurs well for the 20th edition!
The 19th edition of the European Young Breeders School took place last weekend in Battice, Belgium. 153 young competitors travelled to the event from 15 different countries (25 teams) with a tangible sense of motivation and determination. And the event certainly lived up to expectations! EYBS welcomed its first ever participants from Australia this year, proof of its well-established international reputation. France was also well-represented, with 4 teams competing, and Austria returned after a 10-year absence.
Encouraging mutual respect and a thirst for knowledge, the school is still one of a kind on a global scale. Given its international popularity, it may even be time to think about changing the term “European”. Battice offers many young people their first opportunity to compete in animal preparation and prove themselves in the ring as breeders or budding judges.
Welcomed to the school on Wednesday morning, the young participants started their hands-on training directly with techniques for preparing show animals: washing, bedding, feeding, clipping and judging heifers, as well as a marketing workshop for promoting their farm business.
Throughout the adventure, the competitors were guided by some of Europe’s top animal preparation and showmanship experts, as well as the Elevéo team (representing the Association Wallonne de l’Élevage) which was present, as always.
Many of this year’s teams included less experienced young enthusiasts who were mainly here to learn (half of participants were aged under 19). Competition was fierce nevertheless and participants worked tirelessly to prepare their heifers and follow the advice given by handlers.
Saturday was devoted to a conformation contest, with heifers provided to the school by 35 different Walloon breeders. The difficult task of selecting a winner went to Mr Rock Hébert from Rotaly (QC), an official Canadian judge with a well-established reputation. It was also a good dress rehearsal for the budding showmen and women taking part in the following day’s championship
Sunday was synonymous with showmanship and prizes!
The European Young Breeders School showmanship contest was held on Sunday morning. Pieter Vandewalle (Belgium), who excelled in the control and handling of his animal, was named Best Showman.
Top spot for Belgium!
As well as Best Showman, Pieter was named as Overall Winner of the 2019 edition, giving Belgium the top spot on the podium. The title also landed him a fantastic 3-week trip to Canada.
Pieter’s team, Westhoek Holstein (B), distinguished itself with an excellent second place in the team rankings. His younger sister, 16-year-old Evelien Vandewalle came 12th in the overall rankings.
In another excellent performance, Arthur Blockeel came second overall in the under 16s category and won best young local.
In the overall rankings, second and third place on the podium went to Brent Sayles (Canada) and Rabogliatti Alessia (Italy)
Australia performed very well for its first participation, with three competitors in the Top 20 (Zoé Hayes 7th, Ricky Nelson 11th and Julia Paulger 14th).
Canada produced impressive results with six very experienced delegates:
Brent Sayles, 2nd overall, 2nd best clipper and 2nd best showman
Five Canadians finished in the Top 20 (Brent Sayles 2nd, Brooke Boonstopple 8th, Francis Blanchette 13th, Clarissa McCallum 16th and Frédéric Fortier 17th)
Not to be outdone by Canada, Switzerland can also be proud of its results:
Three of its candidates made the Top 10 (Sabrina Piller 5th, Marco Portmann 9th and Timo Gobeli 10th
The Swiss also took 1st place in the team rankings, distinguishing themselves through exemplary teamwork, presentation and stand display which remained impeccable throughout.
Other noteworthy performances include Harriet Jackson (UK) who won Best Judge, Holly Berreen (UK) who was named most deserving young competitor and Andrea Rafferty (Ireland) who won Best Clipper.
Best Competitor in the under 16s category went to Milena Hauck (just 13 years old and 19th in the overall rankings!) from Germany’s Qnetics team.
A laidback atmosphere on Saturday evening gave the youngsters a break from competing. They enjoyed a fantastic opportunity for exchange with fellow participants, organisational staff and 42 host families, who visited the stands and sampled regional specialities offered by each team.
Given the rich diversity of cultural exchange, we couldn’t hope for more than bringing 20 countries together for the 20th edition!