Opinion: Enough entertainment on show day to last all year

Louise Graydon
Louise Graydon

“It’s a Herdwick.” I listened to the farmer and marvelled. He was about five, wearing a white coat and flat cap, with stocky legs and a determined, he hung onto the rope.

At the other end was a sheep, bigger than him, and which to me looked like a teddy bear.

Danby Show 2016. Judging the sheep classes.

Danby Show 2016. Judging the sheep classes.

I’d wandered into the Young Handlers’ Ring at one of the agricultural shows held throughout the area during the summer.

Now, for me, one of the greatest pleasures in life is going to the theatre for entertainment. Well, I’ve found another way, an agricultural show will provide enough entertainment in one day to last you all year, but then again you all know that, but I’m a novice.

I watched my knowledgeable young man and his fellow competitors expertly manoeuvre their badly behaved charges in front of the judges with great aplomb, before the winners were announced.

If you worry about farming, fear not, there is a whole generation waiting in the wings. Next it was the show jumping on a miniature scale.

Plump ponies, with little girls immaculately dressed in sparkly riding hats and pink stirrups. The image was straight out of a Thelwell cartoon. Most of them were in control of their equine pets, but there are always one or two who flatly refuse to have anything to do with a step over log.

After much pink stirrup action they were led from the ring and I swear I could detect a smirk from underneath a shaggy mane.

Sheep dog trialling is a must. I watched a steady stream of farmers and dogs unleashed on the hapless sheep. I don’t know about you but I think sheep belong to a union, because on this particular afternoon they had down tools and under no circumstances were they going to be driven at speed up a hill, or through gates and pens.

The dogs, their tongues trailing on the ground never gave up until all was lost and one by one, man and dog left the sheep to do whatever they do in a sheep union.

Onto the livestock tent. I didn’t realised there were so many different rabbits and ferrets on the planet.

They all looked beautiful (if a little fed up), it must be hard work being admired all day. I have no idea how the judges arrive at a winner, but I suspect it’s an exact science and all to do with ear and whisker length.

There were long necked slender ducks the like of which I’ve seen carved in wood in a shop in Whitby.

I thought they were cartoon characters, but no they actually exist, as do those ducks with pompoms on their heads. Is that evolution, or someone having a laugh?

After a fabulous day, and with my feet and back aching it was time to leave.

Can’t wait for next year to get my agricultural entertainment fix.