11th March, 2022
Competitors from across the country will be travelling to the showground to claim the top spots and collect the silverware, says senior livestock and entries officer, Sarah Chick. “We’re really keen to welcome back a full and broad schedule of competition.”
At the heart of the show are the livestock classes; a showcase of beef, sheep, dairy, pig and poultry on every day of the event. “Livestock showing is about recognising the highest quality animals from a commercial perspective; the classes truly demonstrate excellence,” she says. “To celebrate Her Majesty’s Jubilee year – and her great love of cattle – there will be special Cattle Jubilee awards for exhibitors with the highest number of points in the stock classes.”
Added to this year’s livestock schedule are the much-anticipated Zwartbles, Bleu du Maine, and Millennium Bleu National Shows. The poultry competition is also returning, with a full range of poultry and egg classes.
A mecca for equine competition, the show’s new layout will see competitors and their charges given prime position for a full three days of competition. “The show’s equine catalogue covers the full range of equestrian classes, all in one focussed area of the showground,” says Ms Chick. “We wanted the layout to enhance this aspect of the show and accommodate its popularity.”
Competition will be strong with the show hosting eight Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers including Shire Horse of the Year, Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony and Show Hunter Pony. “HOYS qualifiers never fail to produce hot competition, in the showing world HOYS really is the show of shows – so entrants will be competing for a golden ticket.”
Excitement is guaranteed in the main ring with fast paced scurry driving on the Friday and Saturday, the Pony Club games on all three days, and the popular Inter-hunt relay on the Thursday. Show jumping across all three days will no doubt serve thrills and spills, but the cream of the crop will go head-to-head on Saturday in the Platinum Jubilee Grand Prix.
What showmanship is to the arena, craftsmanship is to the forge, says Ms Chick. Highlights include Champion Farrier for gaining the most points overall across the shoemaking and pony, cob and hunter shoeing classes. Up and coming talent will be recognised in the apprentice shoemaking class with the Worshipful Company of Farriers’ bronze medal.
“We are delighted to have the Company’s Master presenting prizes on the Saturday.”
After all that walking and cheering, visitors can quench their thirst with a true Somerset icon, cider, from some of the country’s finest cider-makers. “The British Cider Championships are back, with canned cider entries accepted for the first time to reflect the increasing number of artisan cider-makers that are innovating in relation to packing and product,” says Ms Chick. “We will no doubt see new blood and entries at record numbers.”
From fruit to flowers; top class honey will also be on offer in the bee and honey classes, which include best beeswax candles, mead and celebratory classes including honey biscuits and honey cakes with Jubilee decorations. New for 2022 is the Decorative or Artistic Exhibit and the Decorative or Artistic Needlework classes.
Anyone looking for floral inspiration should head to the ‘Happy & Glorious’ pop-up show gardens which showcase the beauty and environmental impact that can be achieved in even the smallest of spaces. In the floral art tent, the Jubilee celebrations will continue with classes including Fit for a Queen, Jewel in the Crown, and Tea at the Palace.
Art exhibitions have featured at Royal Bath & West Show for more than a century, and the open art exhibition offers artists the opportunity to put their paintings, drawings, sculptures, and original prints forward for the art competition and sale, with a first prize of £500. “It has always felt incredibly important to encourage and promote south-west artists be they amateur or professional,” says Ms Chick. Despite being held in the summer, the show will hold a Christmas card competition with the winner’s entry being made the official Royal Bath & West Society Christmas card for 2022.
There really is something for everyone at the show – with live music continuing well into the evening and plenty of local food and drink on offer, says deputy head of shows, Jess Chiplen. “Exhibitors and visitors are welcome to camp overnight and really make the most of the occasion –the popular Stockman’s Supper is not to be missed by our exhibitors.
“As ever we look forward to welcoming the finest of competition and enthusiastic crowds.”