The Three Counties Show

PUBLISHED: 11:25 17 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:23 20 February 2013

The Three Counties Show

The Three Counties Show

Debbie Graham saddles up for the 2011 Three Counties Show

Horsing around

Debbie Graham saddles up for the 2011 Three Counties Show

The stageis set, the entries are in and Malvern awaits the arrival of the 3,000 horses and their riders expected as part of the 2011 The Three Counties Show line-up. From all corners of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland they will come; every shape and size, from dainty miniatures to the majestic giants: the heavy horses.

"The horses and the cattle, are the heart of the show. It is a traditional agricultural show and is centred around its livestock," says chief horse steward Emma Coates, from Leominster. Emma is in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly, for judges and competitors alike, and make no mistake there is plenty to keep her eye on. There are classes for show-jumpers, carriage horses, hunters, hacks, cobs, childrens ponies, Appaloosas, Arabs, Exmoors the list goes on. In fact there are more than 25 different sections and around 250 classes in total, spread over six rings.

In the showing classes, horses are judged on conformation, movement, turnout, temperament and manners. This is more than just a beauty class, it is a showcase of the countrys stock and a winning rosette is highly sought. And they dont come easily. Many of the showing classes are qualifiers for Horse of the Year Show and the Royal International Horse Show.

"The Three Counties is one of the leading shows in the country," says one of the best, showman and the former joint master of the Ledbury Hunt, Robert Oliver from Upleadon near Newent. Robert needs little introduction in the equestrian world as his career has seen him lift every major trophy and title in showing, including the big one, the Champion of Champions title at Horse of the Year Show.

"Over the past five years they have made so many improvements in the equestrian side with new post and rail, new rings and the surfaces are all updated. Its a very high class show," he says.

"We always enter all our horses." Definitely among his lorry-load will be last years champion Dancing Lord who not only took the Hunter Championship here but also the Heavyweight Show Hunter of the Year title at HOYS. Another of Roberts horses, a "very special" five-year-old heavyweight hunter called Fame, bought at the Royal Dublin Show last year, makes his debut at the 2011 Three Counties event.

Ten-year-old Saffron Cresswell who lives in Welland, about three-quarters of a mile away from the showground will be there with two ponies, Courtland JP Benjamin and Marica Pandy Rose and aims to qualify for HOYS with both. There are high hopes, for Benjamin particularly, in the working hunter pony classes which tests horse and rider over a course of natural/rustic jumps, including brushes and water, "the type of obstacles you should find if you were out on a days hunting," explains Saffrons mother, Teresa.

One of the most popular attractions of the show are the heavy horses. There are 12 different classes from foal and breeding stock to driving with teams of up to six, pulling agricultural or trade vehicles. â– 

Getting there

The Three Counties Show (June 17-19), Malvern, WR13 6NW.
Tel: 01684 584900;

Three Counties 2011

The Three Counties Show is one of the countrys largest agricultural shows, attracting more than 100,000 visitors, and livestock is an important part with classes for cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry, as well as horses.

But it is more than just an agricultural show and the main ring will be home to a host of displays including a motorcycle display team and the Red Devils who will be parachuting in. There is a country pursuits village showcasing rural skills such as wood-turning, stick-making and deer management, plus demonstrations from the police ambulance and fire service.

Food, as always, plays a big part and there are the annual cheese and cider competitions, showing off the best the region has to offer. There are more tasting and buying opportunities at the farmers market and the new Sizzling Kitchen will feature cookery demonstrations from expert chefs, while for shopaholics there are hundreds of trade stands and exhibiters selling everything from agricultural machinery to clothes and jewellery.

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