Friday, July 23, 2010

My 2 cents

I have been reading, with growing distress, the comments regarding Appendix A and I am growing increasingly frustrated.  I understand there is a difference of opinion on wool length within the association, but from what I have read of Appendix A, there is nothing in there that will disqualify a shetland from registration or showing because of staple length.  There are a number of folks that prefer the shorter, single coated shetlands and I'm sure an equal number that are in favor of the longer, double coated variety.  I don't feel that the language within the appendix forbids either style. 
My frustration is particularly great when I see constant rants attacking peoples character, accusing them of outright lies and backroom dealings.  If anything makes the breed association look bad, it's rants such at this, and I have grown weary of the constant barrage.  Breed for long or short fleece, I don't really care all that much, both of them appeal to me visually.  I like the shorter fleeces, but that's a personal preference and I will not rant and rail against other breeders because I don't agree.  The judges will still place shetlands according to their personal preferences, I don't see that changing in the foreseeable future, so we need to just be adults and try to solve this obvious difference of opinion in a calm manner and let the majority decide what is best for the association as a whole.
I am fairly new to shetlands (5 years), but I have had both types of fleeces and I can tell you from having microns done that my single coated fleeces have always had the better results, that's a fact that was determined by an independent, uninvolved 2nd party.  Do I love the longer fleeces because they are diverse and beautiful?  YES!!!  So, I have a foot in both camps.   I truly wish we didn't have to make decisions regarding what is acceptable within a breed and what isn't, but if we are to "judge" these wonderful creatures, then it has to be done.  If you are happy with what you are doing with your herd, your customers are happy with the products that you produce from them, your sheep can be registered within the registry, then I'm not sure why the general public is being dragged into a couple personal squabbles.  Please settle these disputes amongst yourself, as this constant bickering has become a black eye on NASSA.  
I'm sure I will get a fair share of comments because of this post, I really don't enjoy negativity at all, but felt I really needed to throw out a few of my thoughts on the subject.  I'm neither for or against any "side", just would prefer it all to stop being such a public display of anger.  I don't mean to offend anyone, so if I've done so, I apologize in advance.
I will end this with a couple quote that I think is appropiate: "He who angers you, controls you"  and "We can not control what others say or do, we can only control how we react".
TaTa for now.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Kelly,

    I had a typo in the above post so I deleted it. Her it is with hopefully less errors.

    I don't get that worked up about length, crimps per inch, personally. If you read the Standard and Appendix, it's pretty obvious that they were designed to help breeders select against the characteristics that were introduced from other breeds (Roman nose- Cheviot influence, etc. )
    The people of Shetland, as evidenced by the Appendix, felt very strongly that fleece over 7" was not to be encouraged. If you follow the SSBG list, they consider 5" to be longish.
    I've yet to see anything that long not take on a hair-like quality, and hair like fleece did not put the Shetland on the map as having a "fleece of astonishing fineness".

  3. Well said, Kelly. As a former Shetland breeder, I prefer the shorter, crimpy single coats. HOWEVER! I also like the longish double coat as well. It's just that I make fine garments as opposed to rugged wear such as mittens, socks and such. So, I prefer the finer fleeces. Now THAT said, I have to admit that I've seen extremes. I culled a ewe once, a YEARLING ewe, mind you, with an 11 month clip (not a full year) that measured 11 1/2"!! I was spinning it once doing a demo at a thrashing show and the draft horse people honestly thought I was spinning horse TAIL hair! Now, THAT is coarse! Anyway, even tho I no longer have Shetlands, I continue to purchase fleeces from Shetland breeders.

  4. Hi Kelly!

    I think if you go to the shows in the Midwest you will see the type of Shetland that is extreme in double coat. Probably nothing like you have ever seen, or have raised or purchased.

    The Shetland LAMBSs are larger and taller than the Icelandic ADULTS at the same shows, with longer and coarser fleece. Its quite scary.

    Will you be at Jefferson? We can talk a lot more there :)

  5. I really can't imagine how someone could get upset over your post, probably because I happen to think it is quite balanced and accurate! ;-)

  6. Hi Kelly,

    I agree with you and feel very much the same way. I feel like I have a foot in both camps and understand the points that both sides make much more than ever before. I just wish that exchange could all happen without the unpleasantness because knowledgeable breeders on both sides have a wealth of information and experience to share, but I guess when folks are passionate sometimes things come out a little intense. I think Garrett has a point that I have not really seen until recently. I was at a 4-H show at the county fair and saw an Icelantic in person and I thought OHHHH, that is what they mean by hairy coats. I was very much relived that even my few longer coats don't have any resemblance to that fleece. I am sure if I went to a Shetland show in the midwest I would have a much better understanding. I do have some midwest sheep but I don't think I fully understand unless I saw a great number of them, like I would at a show. My first ram (from the north east) had a really long coat but intermediate and not double coated. It had a ton a luster and crimp and a 23 point something micron as a yearling, so he was my gold standard. I am beginning to feel he was an exception and not the rule. I just posted some of his offspring her on my blog. I will send you an invite if I can find your email. Your horses are beautiful. I have Morgans, a Shetland grade pony, and a Paint/Welsh pony cross.

  7. Thank you all for your input. I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject of shetland and fleece length, I only know that I appreciate the calm, respectful back and forth of intelligent dialog.
    Garrett, I have not seen the fleeces of which you speak, but I'm sure I would be fascinated to see the micron results from them. I look forward to meeting you some day soon.
    Juliann, I know what you mean about the longer staple lengths taking on a more hair-like quality, I have seen it in my own longer coated shetlands in the past.
    If we are to continue to preserve original shetland characteristics, we will have to develop a standard that reflects those traits, so lets take full advantage of all the hours of research that have been done on the subject, without letting personal preference, or money affect our decisions.

  8. Well I just have to pipe in here because I just got my micron test results back. Surprisingly my favorite yearling ewe that worried me because her staple is 6" long at midside, but if pulled taut it's easily 7" long, came back as the finest fleece in our flock with an AFD of 20.6 (and I have several super crimpy short stapled fleece types here). Who would of thunk it? Personally, I enjoy a long silky staple and an intermediate crimpy staple for different projects.

  9. I'm glad you did chime in Becky. I'm not here to take sides or make a stand, so your input is more than welcome. Congrats on the micron results too.
    And, you are right, the variation of the fleeces all have a place, different projects take different fiber. What color is your aforementioned fleece? Just curiosity on my part.


He who angers you, controls you.

And my favorite.......You can't control what others say or do, but you can control your reaction.

Mike and I

Mike and I
Mike and I at Nick and Emily's wedding

Raised beds & chickens coops

Raised beds & chickens coops
Can't wait for this stuff to actually be food....