The Royal Highland show 2015 was a watershed moment for me. I have discovered the world of the heavy horse. As previously explained, I have been a one year director of the RHASS this year and my duty at the show was assisting with the heavy horse classes.
My first job on the Thursday morning was to be the director in charge of the ring for the Highland pony males. Not knowing one end of a horse from the other didn’t seem to matter, but with the tremendous help from experienced stewards Eleanor, John and Marjory we managed to complete our classes half an hour ahead of schedule.
It was a bitterly cold day which put a real chill into my bones. My judge, a Mrs Bev Halls, really showed me up as while I shivered, she stood in the ring with a bare arms and a skirt stating that she had planned her outfit for a year and wasn’t covering it up with a jacket for anything!
My duties for the remaining three days revolved around the heavy horse turnouts. The sight of traditional carts being pulled by teams of two, three, four and six Clydesdales and Shires was a real highlight for me, and made me appreciate how much work and dedication goes into showing these hugely impressive animals.
Of course so much more went on at the show and all seemed to go very well, with the only drawback being the weather on Thursday. The President’s Initiative was all to do with communication, whether it be improving rural broadband speed or getting agriculture’s message across to the general public. We are, I feel, getting much better at highlighting the good work that farming does for the general economy but we still have a way to go. I do feel though that I need to make a special mention for the great work carried out by the Royal Highland Education Trust. Over the first two days of the show, Katrina and her team introduced 7,159 school pupils and 1,083 adult helpers to the world of Scottish agriculture. This can only have huge benefits in the long run.
The show finished with a record attendance of 188,449 which proves its stock is on the rise. I can only thank the society and all its staff and directors for giving me an insight into the running of one of the UK’s best agricultural shows.
Peter Chapman farms 432 hectares (1,067 acres) near Fraserburgh. The mainly arable farm also has suckler cows and pullet rearing enterprises as well as four Enercon 800kW wind turbines. Peter is a Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland one-year director and is on the Ringlink board.