Tuesday 18 June 2019

A Scurry Hurry in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire County Show

What better to do on a warm sunny day than attend a County Show. Well accustomed to Australian shows it was interesting to view the similarities and differences with this very English experience. The county showgrounds are not far from St Albans where we had been staying, but with no public transport to get there, the traffic was endless in all directions. Cars parked in fields with a long trek to the grounds. Lush grass everywhere, no dusty areas or bare ground.

A variety of arenas provided the venues for horse riding and jumps, cattle showing and judging along with novelty events. Each arena had portable grandstands either end and marquees down one side. I saw no permanent buildings, rather those that could be transported to, or moved around for the next show or event. Show attendants clothed in dark suits and bowler hats were located at every gate as areas were opened and closed to allow passage of beasts or people. 

A new event to me was the scurry driving. We had wandered past a practice area where small ponies in pairs were attached to carts but we had no idea what was to come next. There were a variety of sizes of ponies, some Shetlands and some Welsh. Inside the Jubilee Arena a course was marked out with cones. The driver guides the ponies through these cones at speed and points are awarded for speed of completion and accuracy. The crowd cheered wildly at this skilful spectacle. At the back of the scurry (cart) the second person leant into the corners much like a motorcycle rider.

These pony pairs also had paired names so Pride and Joy, Suited and Booted, Bangers N Mash, Stand and Deliver, Morse and Code, Blink and Miss It, Fast and Furious being a few of those I remember. Fun all around.

Pony cart at Hertfordshire county show

Pony cart

Shortly after this spectacle the working shire horses plodded in. Two magnificent whites towing a brewery waggon demonstrated their skills by following voice commands to back up and manoeuvre that heavy cart. Others pulled ploughs and carts demonstrating skills and equipment from the past.

On to the cattle which were housed in large temporary marquees, no pens here but copious amounts of hay underfoot. Large beasts of a variety of breeds stood side by side in comparative peace seemingly untroubled by the stream of humans passing nearby.

After sharing a lunch in the sunshine we ventured into the sheep pavilion. Here was the biggest surprise of all. Vintage breeds looking nothing like many of the sheep we are accustomed to in farms in Australia were housed in small pens with ribbons on display.
Below is a collection of photos of these weird and wonderful beasts, some loooking more like goats than sheep, but sheep they indeed were!

We had a delightful day out with our daughter and her parents in law, it has just taken me a couple of weeks to finally get around to writing about it. Hertfordshire County Show was held on 25th -26th May 2019.

1 comment:

  1. Great to join you on a visit - love the pony names, I'm surprised they haven't got a Hurry and Scurry as a pair of names :)
    Wren x


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