When we attended school, the one thing that we are most afraid of is examination. We go through all the topics for a particular subject and at the end of the semester, we are tested through an examination or perhaps an assignment based on the topics covered. There is always fear surrounding the examinations that I believe can be attributed to the fact that it is natural for us humans to shun or avoid defeat. The peer pressure does not make it any better because our pride will be greatly damaged if we fail a particular subject.
I guess the entire ecosystem is taking examination the wrong way because now that I have gone through most of the “theoretical” examinations, I am indeed going through all the “practical” examinations life is throwing at me. Do I succeed in all so far? Of course not but I get to learn from mistakes! I believe whether it is a theoretical or a practical exam, the main objective of an examination is to gauge how well you know a certain subject or how well you are equipped for a particular skill. Each failure provides us with a new opportunity to sharpen the knowledge and skill needed to pass.
Like an examination, I look at rabbit shows as a time of examination or a platform to gauge how well one has harnessed the skill of breeding show rabbits. Technically, your rabbit is not competing with the rabbits in the judging coops beside it. It is judged against the Standard Of Perfection or at least that is how it should be. The closest to the Standard Of Perfection, the higher it places in the entire group. But of course it is not as mechanical as it seemed since there is human factor involved in the judging process. So perhaps a little dent or bald spot on your rabbit become the one factor it was placed 2nd.
Placing high or low is besides the point here. Again, it is an examination if you are going the correct direction in achieving what the Standard of Perfection is asking for. For show breeders, their rabbits are critically judged in many levels. The rabbits musts be first judged by the breeder himself or herself before deemed “showable”. They are then placed on the official show to be judged by the qualified judges. This can be seen as one sitting for the A Levels Examination as foundation and moving on to his or her Diploma examinations.
Whatever it is, examinations or rabbit shows are there for us to gauge our progress in the certain knowledge or skill we are trying to obtain.
Truth be told, my observation (and others as well) tells me that is not the case when it comes to rabbit shows in Malaysia or perhaps in other countries as well. Someone I know even shared his observation on rabbits being imported before shows. It is happening so rampantly that so much so, importation news can be taken as indication of a rabbit show coming soon. I do not have anything against importation since we need imports to improve our herd. Most imports if not all are very good breeding materials of course but I was hoping that breeders have a little more faith in their rabbits.
I like over analyze things so just to make sense out of it all, I would like to rationalize and put into writing the reason for this phenomenon. No one have to agree with me and I do not expect that. Just my thoughts thrown into my own writing space.
Using the same examination theory that I have put forth earlier. Placing imported rabbits on the show table seemed a little weird for me because one seemed to be yearning for affirmation if he or she imported the correct stock. Knowing well that different judges seemed to have inconsistent opinions, what if your imported rabbits are placed at the bottom? That is such a hard blow to the resources spent. But the point really is, what would you like to gauge showing imported rabbits? I can only think of the following:
- Did I import good rabbits worthy as breeding stock? Isn’t that too late now that the rabbits have arrived?
- Are my imports winning materials? If I am spending that amount of money, I better be sure to win but there are just too many variables to fulfill in order for someone crown your rabbit a winner.
- Are my imports better than his/her imports? There is no point competing on the human level. You will soon be outplayed by millionaires who have money to burn.
There is a misconception surrounding rabbit shows as of late. Winning seemed to determine everything for a breeder. More rabbits and rabbit products sold just because the breeders are in the business and ride on the win to promote certain products they carry. More than meets the eye in my opinion.
The real reason in my humble opinion for any new acquisition of rabbits be it purchasing locally bred or import is to improve whatever traits that are lacking in the current herd.
And to conclude, it makes sense to me that to show my home grown rabbits to gauge of my progress and if I am happy with the placement, I am confident that is an affirmation telling me that I am on the right track and I should continue doing what I am doing to improve my rabbits further.
Two good examples I have in my rabbits that I have harnessed the skill and am now ready to move forward with life.
The first is Murdoch the broken tort buck that was placed 1st and last by two different judges. That proves that there tend to be inconsistencies between judges. I am indeed happy with how Murdoch turned out to be and as his 1st level judge, I passed him with flying colors.
The second is Blaze the solid tort buck that was placed top 5 by two different judges. Extremely happy with his development and as his 1st level judge, I also passed him with flying colors.
Am I praising myself? Sure and of course. This hobby can get really self glorying at times and who better to praise you other than yourself, right? You need that much confidence to be able to be courageous enough to put your own rabbits on the show table most of the time.
Beyond the technicalities of the standards, and above all, rabbits like Murdoch and Blaze are first and foremost my pets. I treat them like my little children and they deserve all the care an owner can provide.
And what does all the ribbons and trophies mean to me? Rightly so, they belong here…
Ribbons and trophies will never match the worth of joy, friendships and companionship these rabbits have provided to my family and I.