Sheep racing at Barleylands

Article by Guy Bell: The scrap for Number 10 is hotting up but Billericay's Barleylands Farm will be hosting their own race to predict the winner of next month's General Election.

Brightly coloured sheep hurdled the fences at the farm as they represented La-baa, Ewe-kip and the Liberwool Democrats.

Farm Park manager Dave Finkle couldn't wait to see how his sheep handle their attempts to jump issues such as immigration, the NHS and education.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Farm Park manager Dave Finkle"]Our woolly jumpers are back in training with this very special political race, where they'll be tackling the major issues around the race course. Maybe we'll even predict the outcome of the real thing. The sheep races are always a big hit for the farm park and this special election race will get them racing fit for animal antics weekend, which signals the start of the racing season through to autumn. We couldn't resist getting a bit topical.[/quote]

The sheep have been preparing to get in shape for this weekend's fun and Dave's ability to tap into the psychology of his woolly companions has been essential.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Dave"]I have been a shepherd all my life and I was born into sheep farming. When you have been farming sheep for so long you start to understand their psychology. I just get into their natural instincts and I can dictate to them the shape of the track and they will run for food.[/quote]

Thanks to their ancestry and DNA, sheep can be trained to race.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Dave"]The training is just getting them to understand when they run round the track there is a reward at the end. They originate from rocky hills so they have no problem jumping either.[/quote]

While it is impossible to predict the winner of the General Election, Dave's sheep gave a realistic insight into the outcome of May 7.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by" Dave]I must say the Conshearvatives sheep is doing well in training at the moment. We have been getting all sorts of results and there was a race in training that was almost spot on. Conshearvatives won, Labaa came second followed by Ewe-kip, Liberwool Democrats and Ba Ba Green Sheep.[/quote]

Animal Antics will take place at Barleylands Farm from Saturday to Monday and will involve the political sheep race, sheep shearing contest and birds of prey demonstration.

Article by Guy Bell, Billericay Gazettee

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