College anniversary, carriages and a Moo Range shine at show’

September 9, 2019

WAITING GAME: A competitors in the pony and trap competition patiently waits before being directed into the public gaze.


EQUINE POWER: Here are some of the Heavy Horses that exhibited at the Dorset County Show.

RURAL EDUCATION: Here I’m standing next to the banner that shows that Kingston Maurward College was celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It is very important this college is supported as it produces many of the custodians locally who look after the county’s landscape, be it in agriculture, forestry or wildlife conservation. Everyone trained in all forms of land use are trained at the one site.


PURBECK INSPIRATION: Lucy Tidbury of Lucy’s Farm with a variety of items on sale showing her art. Her stall was near the Countryside Section of this year’s Dorchester Show.



THOUSANDS of locals and folks from further afield descended on Dorset’s premier country show.

There were plenty of exhibitors including heavy horses, traditional horse-drawn carriages, livestock entries, practical examples of traditional crafts and much more besides at the Dorset County Show site just outside Dorchester.

‘Rural college is 70 years old’

It was a particularly poignant show for the Kingston Maurward College stand. The college, that is based on the other side of the A35 roundabout outside the town, was celebrating its 70th anniversary and one of my companions for the day was down investigating opportunities to do a horticultural course.

The college caters for types of land use in the rural economy and offers a wide array of courses from tree surgery, animal welfare, Personal Development and Public Services, agriculture, Applied Agricultural Science, Construction Skills and even Marine Ecology and Conservation.

For me, it took me back a bit as my own college – Seale-Hayne College in Newton Abbot – closed down in 2001 and was turned into a charity hosting people with learning difficulties. I was a bit surprised that the person we spoke to at the stand hadn’t heard of the college, but knew Bicton, Larkham and Cannington, which are the campuses in Devon, Wiltshire and Somerset respectively.

‘Show jumping put horse-riding skills to the test’

Amongst the highlights this year were the show jumping. I made a conscientious effort to stay around that area for a hour or so to get a feeling for the atmosphere. It requires much dedication and skill going around a course that has been specially designed. Some of the competitors refused on some fences but it helped me appreciate the skill of horse-riding.

It was brought to attention to visitors watching a group of show jumping stewards running in between competitors jump-offs, putting back a pole if a fence was partially knocked.

Unfortunately in one instance a steward tripped over a fence pole when putting back in place but was none the worse for his ordeal.

‘Amadeus and Jonathan composed falconry display’

It was great to see Jonathan Marshall and his falconry display who I last caught up with at Corfe Castle back in June 2013. Back then his horses were Tulio and Tango with his falcons Denver and Quinn. Previously he was based in North Devon, but now has made Cornwall his home.

Six years later he was performing in the countryside ring with his main horse being Amadeus, a full-maned black Stallion and incredibly beautiful looking horse, and one of his trademark moves is training his falcons to fly under the horse’s legs as he rides him and keeps him stationary.

Many of the livestock exhibitors were from the immediate Dorchester area and they were kept in top condition and people were allowed to visit and see them, apart from the times where judging was taking place.

‘Bag was lost and then was found’

One of my companions mislaid a bag with things we had bought over the course of the show and with so much going on, it would be easy to do such a thing, but we re-traced our steps and many thanks to the Stihl stand for keeping it back.

‘Lucy draws inspiration from the Purbecks’

I wanted to draw attention to many exhibitors but focused on two. Lucy Tidbury of Lucy’s Farm is a full-time artist who graduated from Bournemouth Arts Institute in fine arts and has a degree in fine art from Chichester University.

She is very well-known for her “Moo range” that are close-ups of cows designed to bring out their characters and she also paints alpacas, sheep and pet portraits.

Her designs can be purchased in a variety of forms including aprons, tea towels (one of which I purchased), cushions, calendars, notepads, mugs, calendars and diaries.

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