Today was Surrey County Show day. Always a great day out for all the family. I’m certain Emma would agree though poor Day-z wasn’t that keen on the almost constant avoidance of human feet. Actually, Emma was universally admired, patted, cuddled and commented on by the thousands of people we came in contact with. To be fair, so was Day-z but she could have done without the attention.
Of course, Day-z felt pretty superior on the bus, being a veteran commuter and sat on my lap, nose in the air for the short Park and Ride trip to the show. Emma, from where I sat, was a bit excited by the experience, at the front of the bus.
First up, as usual, was the livestock. Massive cattle, strange breeds of sheep and the constant chatter of the commentator led us along the pens as we made our way, slowly up the main drag.
We stopped and watched the judging of some rare sheep breeds by a judge who looked like he’d been indulging in a liquid breakfast. Or perhaps he was just a bit mad. Whatever the cause, his merry, shuffling gait was perfect for his more than ruffled tweedy outfit. We then crossed the makeshift avenue to watch the cows for a bit.
It’s very difficult to see everything at the show because it’s so big. Stoke Park in Guildford is big anyway but it seems to grow with the inclusion of tracks and pens and tents and displays. Even so, we managed to wander over most of the site.
We found out about beagling which seems to consist of getting as many beagles as possible and mixing them with as many little kids as possible and letting them loose in a big fenced off area. It’s very funny, to say the least.
This was in the Countryside Contacts Ltd ring where we also sat and watched a wonderful display of very well trained dogs fetching and being well behaved. It would be nice to report that Emma took notes but she basically ignored it all. The highlight of the display was an amazing demonstration of canine restraint with a gundog standing, staring at three quail from about three feet away, waiting for a further command from his Master. Mirinda reckoned he was edging, very slowly, forwards. It was extraordinary.
But, my favourite event of the day had to be the double harness scurry. Not only was it a wonderful display of racing skill by driver and ballast, and amazing speed of the ponies, it was also a total cack. Mirinda wants to get a couple of ponies and a trap now so we can compete. It really was a lot of fun.
The big event, however, was the Stampede Stunt Company’s Magna Carta. Supposedly a re-enactment of the signing of Magna Carta, two groups of horse riders showed off their amazing skills in the big ring. One group was King John and his evil cronies while the other one was Robin of Loxley and two women (one may have been Maid Marion).
Of course, being the main event meant we were a small part of a very big standing crowd, crammed around the edge of the arena (next year we’re going to take out membership and sit in the relative comfort of the member’s stand), with the girls at our feet, dodging shoes. Standing in front of me was a very vocal girl of about ten. When one of King John’s evil knights came riding passed, boasting about how he’d beaten one of the women in a fight, she yelled out “You’re a cheater!” with the total conviction only a child can show. For her, the whole thing was real.
Afterwards, we made our way, slowly back to the Park and Ride bus (after buying some lovely Farmer’s Market goodies for dinner) for the short trip back to the carpark where Max sat waiting patiently for us. Day-z collapsed on my lap the moment we sat on the bus. She was asleep almost instantly, showing how exciting the day had been. Emma was on the floor at Mirinda’s feet and may have been asleep. Suffice it to say, they both slept all the way home in the car.
It was another great show day. And, as usual, there are more photos on Flickr.