Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Balmoral Show 2016

On Friday I visited the Balmoral Show, Northern Ireland's largest agricultural event. Of the three days it's on for, I usually go on the Wednesday - but, lured by the numerous Clydesdale classes taking place, this year I went on Friday. The classes started at 9:30, so it was an early start to get the lambs fed before we left for the show.

I'd never seen Clydesdales being ridden before, but they looked magnificent.








After several laps of the arena at various speeds, it was time to line up for the judges.


One judge rode every horse, while the other checked the horses over for conformation. The judge who was riding put the horses through their paces, checking their performance at a walk, trot and canter - and, of course, testing the brakes!








The judges conferred and the winners were announced.


Having a chat with the audience after the class.


There were Clydesdales everywhere, getting prepared for their classes.


In the arena next door, working hunters were being judged.



The only entry in the broodmare class faces the judge.



Over the next hour and a half, Clydesdales of all ages stood before the judge.







For one of the foals, the excitement was a bit much!


The warm-up arena was bustling.




The champion Clydesdale for 2016 was Sweet Melody.


At last it was time for the class I'd been most looking forward to: agricultural vehicles! It was fantastic to see these horses harnessed up to the vehicles they would have once worked with all the time.



This one was very decorated indeed.



This sower looked great.



And this bull cart looked amazing.


A last minute spit and polish.


The winner was the bull cart.


Time for a lap of honour.



I finally pried myself away from the horse rings to go and have a look at some of the other animals at the show. Rabbits:


Guinea pigs:


Chickens:


Goats:


And alpacas!


Next were the sheep.


I saw some Kerry Hills from the same flock as Brian and Malcolm. This ewe was lovely.



Then it was time to head to main arena where the Clydesdales were on parade once again.






I was planning to see all of the animals at the show, but the Clydesdales kind of took over this year!

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