The final Living Heritage Country Show of 2013 was held last weekend in Wiltshire at Bowood House, and it was a brilliant show to end the season on. Bowood House is just a fantastic setting for a country show, and I loved the set up there of the dog show at the top of the hill, the slope down to the lake with the gun dogs and scurries and the falconery ring opposite us. A little further the other side were the huge craft marquees, the food village (kangeroo burgers?), and the main arenas with all their amazing displays. The chainsaw sculptors had their usual area near the entrance, and of course the fun house and kids’ roundabout are always popular.
The fun dog show was as busy as ever, and bookings started coming in early on the Saturday morning. We supported two organisations this show: Labrador Retriever Rescue on the Saturday, and the Deaf Dog Network on Sunday.
I managed to slip away for a while with my camera, however, and on my way to photograph the amazing Trochry gundogs and their new display, found the ferret racing about to start in the main arena. They were a bit short handed so I became a bookie, taking £1 bets on which ferret would win that morning’s racing – very popular – especially with the children! I have to admit to being slightly taken aback when handed two ferrets to start the race, never having actually handled one in my life before, but it seems that if you swing them round a bit they calm right down before they race, and Treacle the Ferret was the winner by a length to the delight of a part of the crowd! I even managed a few photos before doubling the money of the winners and finishing my short-lived career as bookie and ferret-handler and heading back to the dog show.
The Fun Dog Show started with the usual cute factor: very small children with very big dogs. I wouldn’t mess with some of those kids though – when they say ‘Sit’ they mean it! My favourite class was ‘Dog like owner’, which was a forgone conclusion. A great time had by all and the overall winner was a rather gorgeous Siberian Husky called Koda.
The rain which had held off all day came in force overnight, and I was pleased to be inside my little tent which was tucked away inside the dog show marquee. It was kind of cosy listening to the rain a whole outer layer away from me – but I am kinda relieved I won’t be camping any later into the Autumn weather. It was a little chilly, and I had already awarded ‘Dog the Judge Would Most Like to Take Home’ to a Newfoundland on the basis that they are a lot warmer than a spaniel to have next to you at night!
Sunday was lovely again though, and we had full classes for the final dog show of the season, won by Sandy the German Shepherd.
He stayed on for the final class: the overall Gillies Leap Supreme Champion of 2013. All our previous winners from every show were invited back and it was great to see some familiar faces. It was a close contest but in the end Gizmo, the doberman from Thame was awarded Reserve Champion, Rio, the saluki from Hampshire was awarded Champion, and the Supreme Chmpion was awarded to border terrier, Tuffers from Sandringham. Congratulations to those three and indeed all the entrants to that final class. A stunning line-up.
So, that’s it for 2013! What an amazing, fantastic season of Living Heritage Shows. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Andy Collins from Gillies Leap for having me work with him on the dog shows all year. I have photographed some stunning dogs, and enjoyed doing the Gillies Leap publicity and providing photos for the winners as well.
Thanks too to all the organisers of the Living Heritage Shows. One day I will write a blog post on all the work that goes on behind the scenes – it really is incredible! Thanks!
And to all of you who have followed my blogs this year, who have entered the dog shows or watched from afar… see you at Thoresby next March 🙂