A Day at the Royal Welsh

August 15th, 2010 by Kim

The line up of "coloured horses".

We arrived in Wales late Sunday, July 18.  After a good night’s sleep & a breakfast too big for either of us to finish, it was off to the Royal Welsh Show, which is supposed to be one of the biggest agricultural shows in the world.  It was definitely more than we could possibly see in one day.  

I'm not used to seeing that kind of butt on a cow!

Things to See

Upon entering the showgrounds, we first found the horse ring, where they were judging spotted Welsh cobs.  It was an impressive & beautiful line-up.  Then we headed for the cattle barns, but since showing was in progress, we couldn’t go in.  So we stood outside awhile, watching the comings & goings of some breeds that were new to us, like the Welsh Black which looked like giant, black, wooly teddy bears, and British Blue which were shaped more like hogs than cows.

The sheep shearing competition.

 After a while we decided to go see the sheep & the shearing competition.  Well, the Welsh are big on sheep, and they have so many different breeds that we had never heard of, but the sheep themselves weren’t as interesting as the shearing competition.  There were teams from different countries competing.  Each team member had three sheep to shear, going as fast as possible without nicking the poor critters too many times…and all with a hand shears, not electric clippers!

An amazing stunt by the Dancing Diggers.

 Throughout the day, there was also plenty of entertainment.  We got to see the JCB Dancing Diggers: yes, guys driving backhoes in a routine choreographed to music, Meirion Owen & the Quack Pack: he has a Border Collie herd his ducks through an obstacle course, and, most impressive to me, the Chariots of Fire Display Team. 

Getting ready to jump with two ponies.

Horsewoman Amanda Saville has many rescue ponies that she has trained as stunt driving ponies.  It was amazing to see the trust between her & these ponies.  The ponies would go over a jump with ramps on the edges which would send her chariot airborne, with Amanda giving exuberant commentary throughout. 

Now, over the jumps with four.

 After jumping with a pair, she then added two more, single-file out in front with reins only – they had no traces attaching them to the cart.  Following that impressive showing, Amanda brought out her “old faithful”, Mad Mac, the fearless fire specialist, who takes on the fiery obstacles.  It was quite amazing.

Mad Mac goes over & through the fire with ease.

There was much more that we simply didn’t have time to see.  Of course, walking between venues, we made an interesting observation of Welsh fashion.  

An interesting fashion statement.

Apparently, shorts or a skirt, with leggings & brightly colored wellies is quite popular attire in Wales.  I’m not sure if that one will ever catch on anywhere else.  It was a busy, but very fun day.  And of course, our entire reason for going was to see the Dexter show.

Dexters on Display

I had hoped, with the Royal Welsh being such a big event, that we would get to see many representatives of the breed in Britain.  Therefore, I was quite disappointed to find that only a handful of breeders brought a few animals each to show.  We found out later on Tuesday that many local breeders chose not to attend because of difficult, expensive regulation issues.  But we did get to talk to some of the breeders that were there.

In the center: a lovely red cow that was my choice for first place.

The first place Dexter bull.

There were some very nice animals presented, mostly very short and quite beefy.  The first place bull was a fabulous fellow, however I found that I disagreed strongly with the judge’s idea of a winning cow.  He didn’t seem to consider udder conformation at all and passed over a perfectly beautiful red cow with lovely udder conformation for a beefier cow with a really poor udder.  What a disappointment, not only for me, but for the owner of the red cow who had to settle for second place.

After a long day of activity, it was good to get back to the comfort of Lower Fishpools Cottage for a night’s rest before heading off on the next day’s adventure, which I’ll relate next week.  See ya’ then!

Comments are closed.