Championships are a big part of the summer season, but if you fancy heading to a show without your four legged friend for a day as a spectator, these five enchanting county shows are certainly worth adding to the calender.
Where will you be heading this summer?
1. The one for… a real good party
WHERE? Builth Wells Showground
WHEN? 23 — 26 July
WHAT TO WATCH? In-hand Welsh Cob senior stallion class which will be held on Wednesday 25 July at 2.15pm in the main ring. This is certainly one the main spectacles of the show, where you can witness the crème de la crème of breeding stallions perform.
WHERE TO SHOP? Brollies And Gems. Pick up an exclusive-design handbag (made of luxury Welsh tapestry and English tweed) which have been inspired by the beauty of the Abergavenny countryside and Welsh heritage.
USP: the Royal Welsh is one of the biggest agricultural shows in Europe, and is renowned for showcasing some of the best Welsh ponies of the moment. As well as some quality stock, the show is also a time for breeders, competitors and spectators alike to come together in a host of post-show celebrations.
2. The one for… all the family
WHERE? Salesbury Hall, Ribchester
WHEN? 20 — 22 July
WHAT TO WATCH? The show jumping classes see some top competition come through the rings, culminating in the Senator Group Grand-Prix on Sunday (12pm, Salesbury arena) which is offering over £4,500 worth of prize money.
WHERE TO SHOP? Stay tuned to the show’s website for announcements on tradestands.
USP: there is something for the whole gang — 2018 will feature a ladies marquee and a ladies day held on Friday 20 June and for the first time the show will incorporate a children’s village with various activities.
3. The one for… top class competition
WHERE? Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate
WHEN? 10 — 12 July
WHAT TO WATCH? The novice hunters, held on Tuesday 10 July in the main ring. The first class (lightweights) starts at 7.30am with middles and heavyweight weights following on. Sure to provide us with some stars of the future to keep on the radar.
WHERE TO SHOP? Boe Gin. A Scottish gin which scooped a silver medal at the World Gin Awards, and has now been joined by Boe Violet Gin, Boe Peach & Hibiscus Gin Liquer and Boe Scottish Bramble Gin Liqueur. Yum.
USP: The Yorkshire is arguably the ‘county to win’ for a lot of the horse world, and as well as showcasing the best of equestrian talent, the event is also heralded as one of the best for other agricultural competitors. Make sure you check out the livestock lines to see some of the county’s best pig, sheep, cattle and poultry exhibits.
4. The best for… the traditional feel
WHERE? The Dorchester Showground
WHEN? 1 — 2 September
WHAT TO WATCH? There is an overall supreme championship on both days of the show, offering £250 to each winner. Pony classes take place on Saturday and Horses while horse classes and driving are held on Sunday. The scurry racing takes part on both days and is surely one not to miss.
WHERE TO SHOP? Alice Wood Design. Sheepskins farmed from Poll Dorset sheep which are raised near Sherborne in Dorset. They claim to provide sustainable, unrivalled quality in their extra large sheepskins.
USP: The first exhibition was held in 1840 and this has now developed in to the two day Dorset County Show. The show is continually developing new attractions such as the Heavy Horse Village and the Dorset Artisan Craft Marquee.
5. The best for… doing it all in a day
WHERE? Westmorland Show Ground, Cumbria
WHEN? 13 September
WHAT TO WATCH? The array of heavy horse classes, which take place in the main ring are a real spectacle. With classes for both Shires and other heavy breeds, there is also a ridden class.
WHERE TO SHOP? Make sure you check out the craft tent, which showcases a whole host of wonderful bits and pieces made in the local area.
USP: Last year was the first time the show had run the horses classes in their own ‘equine village’ held on the opposite side to the main show. The supreme championships culminates at the end of the day and a traditional prize giving remains.