For those who know me well, you don’t often see me for gold dust over the summer months as I’m usually out riding one of my cheeky Irish horses Barley and Jonty after work or at a show at the weekend somewhere in the West Country trying to win a rosette. And for anyone who said it’s the taking part that counts – they’re lying!!
The next 3 weeks are no exception to the rule and for me one of the most exciting times of the year as we have 3 spectacular agricultural shows taking place in our fair county of Dorset.
For those of you who aren’t sure what an agricultural show is, check out this link on Wikipedia and next time I’m babbling on about a county show you won’t look at me as if I’m talking in double dutch. This line sums it up perfectly ‘Agricultural shows are an important part of cultural life in small country towns’.
Tomorrow kicks off at Gillingham and Shaftesbury (Wednesday 17th August) which is probably the most laid back / rural of the three shows. There’s over 280 traditional livestock events at the Turnpike Showground from horses, cattle, to sheep and has been going strong for over 150 years. So who are you likely to spot down there? North Dorset ladies that ‘do’ lunch, cider lovers, some of the West Country’s top show jumpers and a few tourists who stumble across the show advertised in the Blackmore Sparkford Mag. We’ll be down there taking part in the Open Working Hunter on Barley as a warm up for Melplash Show…fingers crossed he’ll behave himself after his tantrum practice last night.
Next week is Melplash Show (Thursday 25th August) which again has been going for donkey’s of years – 162 to be precise. I’ve got fond memories of Melplash riding my Welsh Section B 13H pony Music Master in the show pony classes and jumping my horse Wizard as a 17 year old in the main ring, sadly he was a typical Warmblood horse and napped at the strawbales getting us eliminated. So who are you likely to spot at Melplash? Holiday makers making the most of the West Country before the kids go back to school, locals enjoying the cider tent and riders trying to make a last attempt to qualify for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). Barley and I will be one of those making our first and last attempt at qualifying for HOYS this year in the main ring – let’s hope I have more luck then I did with Wizard.
Last but not least is the Dorset Show (Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September) which was probably the first show I ever went to as a baby. Dorset Show used to be a one day show back in the day, but now is a full on jam packed event with something for everyone from the kids to nana and isn’t just about the livestock, but all round good entertainment. So who are you likely to spot at the Dorset Show? A lot of the local Dorch townies, the BSJA crowd ponc-ing it up in the collection ring, Young Farmers, Tweed crowd and genuine country bumpkins… This time its Jonty’s turn, could be interesting as this will be the biggest show he’s been to, so he’ll either thrive on it or have a few tantrums, I’m thinking it will be the latter!