Pinzgauer princess gets top shampoo treatment
Bridget Lowry rules out spending $39 on a bottle of shampoo on herself yet wouldn't think twice of lavishing such care on her young cow.
The pampered 1-year-old heifer, Pinzridge Haylee, was given the royal treatment before entering the cattle ring at the Canterbury A&P Show on Wednesday.
Haylee is the sole exhibit for the unusual breed at the show.
Lowry said the treatment received by the pinzgauer was in complete contrast to reports of bobby calves being mishandled and many other show cattle were equally as indulged.
"These guys are treated like royalty. Every time they do a poo it gets picked up," the Gore breeder said.
"Who spends $39 on a bottle of shampoo? We do for our animals – I'm not going to spend $39 on me, but for these guys we want them to look their best."
In theory, Haylee should receive the top ribbon for the best of its breed without any competition.
However, there is a provision in the rules for judges to retain the ribbon or give a second or third placing.
Lowry said breeders struggled to remember the rule being enforced.
"I've never seen it done. That would be pretty hard to stomach and you would want to hide [a third-placed ribbon] in your pocket and walk back quickly."
Her best ribbon hopes rest with an equally unusual white galloway bull and a south devon heifer.
The purebred pinzgauer, distinguished by a deep red colouring with a white strip from its shoulders to its rump, originates from Austria where it has been a recorded breed for 300 years.
There are fewer than 55 of the milk and meat cattle in New Zealand since they arrived in 1973. The last entrant at the show was three years ago when Lowry brought up Haylee's mother as a heifer.
Her small Pinzridge Stud has six pure mixed age cows, three heifers and other females she is breeding towards increasing her purebred base.
New Zealand breeders are working to increase their size to put more meat on their frame, but do not want them too big as they are also sought after by dairy farmers.
Lowry has been breeding the pinzgauers for nine years and likes them for their quiet nature.
She said Haylee was probably the best heifer she had bred for the breed.
"She's in her own breed and will win the lot hopefully."
Her son, Jackson, has his own belted galloway stud and is a partner with her in some of the family's other studs.
The pair think nothing of the nearly seven hour journey to the show, and transport their animals with other Southland breeders in a truck and trailer.