Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Ardrahan Agricultural Show, Ireland 13 July 2008 ATCs
What a great day we had at Ardrahan Show, County Clare. It had promised sunshine but we didn't see any, however, it remained dry until the end of the day.
Stallions lining up to be Judged, one getting fed up and frisky
Buster behaved immaculately. He was the star of the day and was petted, cuddled and loved to death. He didn't nip anyone and took all the adoration in his stride. One family wanted to buy him and one gentleman also. Apparently it's quite common to buy dogs at shows from people. We watched some of the dog show, which seemed a bit chaotic. People kept asking us if we'd put Buster in the puppy class. We didn't! I must say the judge knew his stuff and kept the spectators and competitors in suspense in true Crufts style.
The main events involved the horses. There were jumping events and many many classes for all the different types of horses, including some adorable miniature ones, such as the one below.
My favorites were the ridden hunters, huge horses with adult riders. The men were the most impressive, big men on big horses! The most exciting event was the final of the All Ireland Championship for ridden Hunters. Winners of other shows from all over, even abroad, had come to compete for the prize money of 1000 euros. Not to be sneezed at.
We chatted to lots of 'horse' people, they were all very friendly and very willing to impart their knowledge to non horsey types such as us, who really had little idea of what was going on. One red haired gentleman was standing near us with his 5 children. It turned out his wife was competing, so we rooted for 'number 15' along with the children and hubby. We had also been chatting with a well spoken English lady and she was a friend of one of the two judges, a lady called Bridget and they had been flown over for the occasion. We never did find out this lady's name, I'll call her Veronica!
The children all adored Buster and told us all about their mum and all the medals she had won. At one point her husband wandered over to his wife to help with some necessary grooming and saddle removing. There we were with 5 children, one of which was a 5 month old boy, Richard. Can you imagine anyone in England doing that. He was in the ring quite some time, like, half an hour and Veronica rocked the baby and I made sure the smaller girls didn't run into the ring, as the judges had to ride every horse, walking, trotting, cantering and then galloping past us at a great rate of knots. This all took a long long time as you can imagine! Veronica was on the verge of taking Richard home with her. The children were in fact very good and we were amazed at how nonchalant the parents were about handling 5 children whilst one of them was competing and the other helping!
When it eventually started to rain, Dad re-appeared, scooped up the children and took them to his truck. Richard had got quite fed up by then and had been crying. Probably starving - and wet from the rain! Veronica and I had quite a laugh at what had occurred! Only in Ireland.... Bye the way, his wife came 2nd.
Here is Jim with 'Veronica' holding Richard. She became all maternal and decided it was time one of her 3 boys produced!
The other main topic of conversation with all Buster's admirers was 'what is he', ie what breed. Most agreed he must be beagle or beagle cross. One helpful chap who sat with us for very welcome chips from a van, said if the roof of his mouth was dark (and it is) then it's more likely he's a pedigree! Well, we'll never know, but we were amazed at all the attention he received from adults and children alike.
During the afternoon, Buster flaked out on my feet, and later on our rucksack! Here he is on my feet, oblivious to the world.
For his first day out amongst people and horses,
he was brilliant.
The show was supposed to finish at 5.30 but we left about 6.15 and there were still 2 or 3 events to go.
It was a great day for 'people watching', the Irish all seem to know a lot about horses and nod sagely or tut disapprovingly when winners are chosen.
Just to prove I was there too!
So that was our show day. Great fun.
Back home, we fed the starving cats and Buster, dined then watched a bit of tv. Jim had been following the cricket test, England v S Africa, so we caught up with that. Me watching cricket, who'd have thought it!
I spent some time on the site for swapping ATCs. I ended up feeling that the ones I've made aren't really up to standard. Grump grump. Jim scanned them for me so here they are:
I'm having trouble with placing the names, so they are, left: Cat in a Cage, right: Roxanne.
Centre: Behind the Curtain, Below left: Fear below centre: Labels