Last weekend saw fierce competition as Europe’s top shire horses gathered for the National Shire Horse Show at Stafford County Showground.
The King George V Trophy, the highest accolade amongst the males, went for the second year in succession to Landcliffe Charlie from Bill Bedford, Escrick, York.
This five-year-old stallion having taken the champion stallion award in 2018, again handled by brother, Walter, in front of judges Tom Brewster and Anne Hull, the homebred Martonian Norman son took the first qualifying spot for the Shire Horse of the Year final in October.
Settling for reserve for a second time from Martin Fountain, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, was Woodhouse Rainman, which took the junior and reserve stallion championship. By the late Metheringham Upton Hamlet and out of the multi championship winning mare Woodhouse Calendar Girl, this three-year-old looks full of future promise.
Settling for the reserve junior male was the Swedish bred and owned yearling colt, Herkules Catching Fire from Christer Paulsson.
The geldings are always a major feature at the show and this year was no exception with the shows largest class the senior geldings having 23 entries forward for judges, David Yates and Matthew Burks, the same class producing the days champion gelding in Matthew Kings’ Cotebrook Ben Alder by Moorfield Edward, whilst reserve was Richard Bloom’s Fellthorpe Clarry by Ruskington Hartley.
Leading the way in the junior geldings was Philip Moss’s Metheringham Upton Crispin ahead of Philip Woof’s two-year-old Rosemoore Emperor.
Sunday heralded Ladies Day, and it was judges Brian Winn and Hywell Roberts who awarded the female championship to Paul Bedford with nine-year-old Fellthorpe Esther Jane, by Moorfield Edward.
The reserve female and junior female titles went to another Bedford, this time brother, Richard, with the home-bred filly Hartcliff Imelda, by Rookhills Leapley Lad out of Toc Hill Lady Victoria.
The turnouts made a full return this year after last year’s heavy snow at the show caused the cancellation of many of the classes. The champion turnout, Hainton Stephen, the single from John and Jayne Goodwin, and driven by John, while in reserve was the Young and Co Brewery’s team of four, driven by David Lawless.
The days leading young handler was Alice Ford, Cheshire, who made it a hattrick of wins at this event turning her horse out to perfection and later showing it in front of judge Phillip Moss jnr, proud mum Sarah (nee Cosgrove) looked on ahead of flying out to judge the Australian National Shire Horse Show the next day.
The Cosgrove family had more to celebrate at the show with the champion ridden been awarded to Gautby Arclid Flashman from John Anderson bred by Sarah’s sister Sue and partner Maurice Poucher, ridden by Morag Snow. Flashman later claimed the ridden heavy horse of the year qualifier ahead of Emma Green’s Westfield Calendar Girl.