Record Crowds at The Suffolk Show

Now we all appear to have learned to live with Covid, life in the countryside and the all the major (and minor) shows are back in 2022 with a bang, and that’s great. The Suffolk Show was no exception and this was our first visit to the historic show in East Anglia near Ipswich. A proper county show with showing classes for horses, cattle and sheep as well as the traditional flower show and craft areas demonstrating all manner of country crafts, never mind the shopping opportunities for the general public.

The Suffolk Show was first staged in 1831 by the Suffolk Agricultural Association and nearly 200 years later, the show has managed to retain its agricultural and countryside origins. Unlike many shows of today, the Suffolk Show is not just ‘a glorified Sunday market’. The show still has relevance and real substance to its activities and had a remarkable friendliness and a sort of safe and secure ambiance, (if you can have such an ambiance?)  This was a modern show married with old fashioned courtesies and values which provided the unique atmosphere. All the stewards, of which there were nearly 400, all volunteering their time, could all be identified by all the males had to wear dark suits and a bowler hat, and the females – summer dresses also with some form of head dress. Not only were they expected to organise showing classes and provide that vital link to make the show run smoothly, but I was particularly impressed that they were also guides for the public who wanted to know where a particular stand was or a particular ring was – or be able to provide information on any other spurious point a member of the public might make.

Suffolk Champion
Some of The Suffolk Heavy Horse parade
Record crowds at show
Supreme Heavy Horse
Supreme Overall Champion Horse
Supreme Trade Turnout Champion

A big part of The Suffolk Show is the ‘heavy horse showing’ classes. The Suffolk Heavy horse owners make a especially big effort to get as many Suffolk horses out as possible at their home show. Sadly the Suffolk Heavy horse is now a rare breed and there are less than 500 of them left on the planet. There were Clydesdales, Percherons and Shires to add to the number of heavy horse cleasses, most of which were well supported. The Supreme Champion Suffolk horse was a mare belonging to K. Revitt. Ballasyre Mandy is a 5 year old mare. The Supreme Heavy Horse was Val – an 8 year old mare owned by John McIntyre. The Supreme In Hand Champion Horse or Pony was Ellister Isley Spruce – a stallion born in 2013. The overall Supreme Champion of the show (in hand) was Ellister Isley Spruce.

Champion Bovine. Red Poll Bull
Farrier Competition

There were many other attractions at the show and other craft or country specialist competitions at the show including the farrier competition. Although there were not as many cattle exhibited as I expected, the Red Polls were in dominance from the numbers entered and quality shown. The Supreme Champion of the cattle of the show was a Red Poll Bull. There was a big entry for the trade cart  turnout which was, as always, very popular with the huge crowd. 

The finale of the show was a tribute to Her Majesty The Queen on Her seventy years on the throne. It was a military pageant which was started by the a dozen or so Red Devils parachuting from 5000 feet free falling through the sky before opening the chutes and all landing in the main arena to huge applause. It was a shame that during the march past by all the services, both military and civilian, the heavens opened and it poured with rain in a slow moving heavy shower.

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