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Postcard from the UK - Angie Rickard at the Royal Welsh Show

ABOVE: No royal show is complete without a royal ... Princess Anne was officiating. Picture: ANGIE RICKARD

GOING on holiday, people usually take a camera, but when equine photographer Angie Rickard goes away, the photos she sends home are not your usual “happy snaps”.

Big lens, several cameras and an itinerary that includes the Royal Welsh Show, The Royal International at Hickstead and the British Festival of Eventing at Gatcombe Park, it is a sure thing that The Regional’s readers are in for a treat.

The first event Angie has attended on her overseas “horse tour” is the pinnacle of the British agricultural calendar, the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, Powys, in Wales.

The event featured four-days of livestock and equine competitions from July 24 to 27, with Angie out on the main arena for each one of these mixing it with the Welsh – and at one stage, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.

“The whole arena stopped while she was on it,” Angie said. “All three rings – just stopped!”

As for her own presence, she was a bit of a novelty herself.

“All the stewards and staff were so welcoming and wanted to hear about kangaroos and koalas.”

It is a rare treat to get an insight into differences in everything from horse types to how classes are run at this show from an Australian perspective.

So, for an inside peek – and a first-hand account of how the UK’s record-breaking heatwave went down – here’s the rest of what Angie had to say:

“The Royal Welsh Show was certainly one to remember!

“After a two-year holiday due to Covid, it was all go this year … then the heatwave hit. A sweltering 38 degrees for the first day was unheard of weather in Wales but it did not deter the crowds. Water was available for everyone, man and beast, and was certainly welcomed.

Day two was again a heatwave for the area, well over 30 degrees and energy-sapping. The weather gods played nice for the last two days though, with temperatures in the low 20s making things much more comfortable for everyone.

ABOVE: The Welsh Section C mare took out the supreme championship and the only horse sash of the show. Picture: ANGIE RICKARD

The Welsh love their Cobs. On day one on the main arena there were the Welsh Ponies Cob type (Section C) under saddle, a single ridden class of stallions, mares and geldings all in together, with a total of 54 entries.

The huge classes for Welsh Cobs under saddle are divided, with 43 entries in the geldings, 39 entries in the mare class and 30 in the stallion class. Rosettes are awarded to winners and placegetters.

The second day saw the start of the Welsh led classes, with senior Welsh Mountain Ponies judged by Miss J. Reed, junior Welsh Cobs judged by Mr E. Gant and junior Welsh Ponies Cob type judged by C. Frith. Again, entry numbers were huge with many classes exceeding 20 entries.

Wednesday was judged in much cooler weather with the junior Welsh Mountain ponies, Welsh Cob Seniors and Welsh B junior classes. These were followed by the crowd favourite and the highlight of the arena, the Welsh Cob Stallion class, eight years and older.

The big boys certainly fly along in front of the packed grandstand to deafening cheering and clapping!

ABOVE: The stallions in hand were real crowd pleasers. Picture: ANGIE RICKARD

It was another pleasant day weather-wise for the final day on the main arena, with the Welsh B seniors, Welsh Pony Cob Type C seniors and the Royal Welsh Show championships on the agenda.

The Royal Welsh-in-hand championship is worth £250 ($A433.50) to the winner, with the reserve collecting £100 ($A173.50). The same prize money is awarded for the Royal Welsh ridden championship and the Royal Welsh driving championship.

The ultimate prize is the Royal Welsh supreme horse championship £750 ($A1301) to the champion, won by the beautiful Welsh Section C mare, and £250 ($A433.50) to the reserve, which was the Shetland stallion.

There are no rugs and garlands like in Australia, it is all hard-earned placings and rosettes, with the ultimate sash only for the best.”

To see just how different they do things in Wales, watch the judging of the supreme horse championship – featuring in-hand entries, harness and a child competing sidesaddle.

Photographic tour of the Royal Welsh Show horse classes

(Click any image to open gallery)

Sheep and cattle sections

(Click any image to open gallery)

All images courtesy of Angie Rickard Photography


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