The Olympic dressage gold medallist, Carl Hester enjoyed a nostalgic return to the Moreton Show, describing the experience as ‘a heavenly day out.’
The Forest of Dean-based Hester was at the show on Saturday (September 1) to judge the Supreme Horse and Pony, only days before he flies out to the United States to represent Great Britain at the World Equestrian Games.
He said: ‘It’s 32 years since I last came to Moreton Show so it’s pretty amazing to be back here. There’s something very special about a show like this. If you love animals and you love the countryside, this is heaven. It’s a heavenly day out. The whole atmosphere is fantastic.’
The same could be said for the weather, which for the second year running meant that bumper crowds enjoyed a warm, sunny day.
Hester and his fellow judge, Rosemary Lady Northampton together with the sponsors, Mypower Solar held centre stage in the Grand Arena to present the Supreme Horse Championship for the second year running to Temple Ogue, a six year-old bay gelding owned by Kay Campbell from Maidenhead and ridden by Jayne Ross.
It was also a double triumph for Jayne Ross, whose other horse, Cummer Paradise was named reserve champion. She said: ‘It was an exceptional day and a wonderful feeling. The horses were delightful. They’ve given us great rides all year but to come to Moreton and win the champion and reserve was extra special.’
The presentation was made even more special by the arrival overhead of a World War II Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, piloted by Flt Lt Andy Preece, which made three passes of the Moreton-in-Marsh showground.
The Supreme Champion Pony was Thistledown Lion-heart, a seven year-old grey gelding owned by Sharn Linney and ridden by Brodie Birtwell.
There were big crowds in the livestock section, where the big winners once again were Paul Dawes and his farm manager, Richard Bartle from the Dinmore Manor Estate in Herefordshire. For the second consecutive year, they won £1,000 and the prestigious Selekt Three Shires Trophy, awarded for points accrued from showing at the Hanbury Show, Burwarton Show and Moreton Show.
Dawes and Bartle also won Moreton Show’s Supreme Champion with Dinmore Madonna, a two year-old home-bred Limousin heifer while the Reserve Supreme Champion was Allstar, a Jersey cow owned by Andrew and Heidi Reader from Brackley in Northamptonshire.
In the sheep section, the Supreme Interbreed Champion was a Texel shearling ewe owned by Fordwell Farm Partners from Faringdon, Oxfordshire. The Reserve Champion Sheep was a Southdown shearling ewe, owned by Basil Cooper from Aston Clinton, Aylesbury.
One of the biggest draws on the showground was the goat marquee, which had to be extended to accommodate entries which had almost doubled, from 102 in 2017 to 197 this year. It proved to be a top quality competition. In the Pygmy Goats section, top honours went to Penrhiw Anya, owned by Jill Osborne and John Douglas from Newport, Wales, which was named Best in Show.
Edward Bull’s Forasmile Aero, from Burbage in Wiltshire, was named Best in Show in the Dairy Goat section.
Lynne Parkes, the Livestock Secretary, said: ‘It was a wonderful day of competition in all classes and we were impressed by the brilliant quality of stock forward. It was especially pleasing to see the young handler classes so well supported. It bodes well for the future of farming. It did get very warm during the day but competition was conducted in the best spirit and with the utmost patience.’
There was competition among the trade stands too. Western Arable from Elmstone Hardwick was named as the best large trade stand. The trophy for the best small trade stand went to Keyscape Garden Landscape Design and Construction from Pershore for the third year in a row.
Brisk business was also done in the Cotswold Food Market, where a closely fought competition for the best stand was won by Cacao Bean from Moreton-in-Marsh. In the Retail and Craft Marquee, the best stand was judged to belong to Taylored-Felt from Halford.
There were record entries in the Home and Garden Marquee, where Deborah Lowe, a first-time exhibitor from Alvescote, Oxfordshire amazed the judges with the quality of her produce. She won the National Vegetable Society Medal and Joe Meredith Memorial Trophy with her cauliflowers. Deborah also took home the Churchill Challenge Trophy for amassing the most points in the vegetable classes.
George Proverbs, one of the country’s top exhibitors proved that at the age of 85, he is still on top form by winning the West of England Chrysanthemum Trophy for three vases of the flower the 14th time. George, from Colesbourne, Gloucestershire also won the National Crysanthemum Society Silver Medal for the best exhibit in show. Daphne Preston, from Steeple Aston, near Bicester picked up four trophies, including the Weaver Challenge Cup for the exhibitor with the most points in the Dahlia classes.
Steve Parkes, who steps down as Moreton Show chairman, said: ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years as chairman of the show and would like to pay tribute to my successor, Ed Hicks, who has been a great support. I’ve had two fantastic shows and I’m sure that he’ll take this wonderful event on to even greater heights.
‘It was so pleasing to see so many people supporting the show this year. Work has already started on the 2019 edition.’
Meanwhile, the work of the Moreton in Marsh and District Agricultural and Horse Show Society continues with the annual ploughing match on Saturday, October 27, hosted by Ken Brain at Peters Farm near Broadway Tower.