Farming, livestock and equine

From big beast farm machinery and some of the largest cattle in the land to rare breeds and world class show-jumping, the Royal Norfolk Show’s farming, livestock and equine programme will be packed as ever.

Here’s a taste!

EQUINE

The Royal Norfolk Show is packed with over 200 equine classes; 125 Light Horse classes, 54 Heavy Horse classes, 8 Show Jumping competitions including the exciting Ride and Drive and the prestigious International Stairway, 13 Private Driving classes including Donkey driving, Exercise Vehicle and Whip classes. Also 2 fast paced Scurry competitions to be held in the Grand Ring. There are 3 major Championships: The Horse of the Year Show Cuddy Supreme In Hand Championship, The RNAA Supreme In Hand Championship sponsored by the Stuart Group and the RNAA Supreme Ridden Championship with the Jackpots Trophy.

There are over 50 other Championship classes and over 40 Special classes run throughout the Equine sections. Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers are a big draw for competitors as well as qualifiers for the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) and many more.
See the magnificent Heavy Horses. The Show includes classes for all four main breeds of Heavy Horse; Shire, Suffolk, Clydesdale and Percheron.

LIVESTOCK

CATTLE 
Cattle of all shapes, sizes, colours and breeds from numerous counties and countries of origin will be judged in the cattle rings this year. Approximately 800 cattle in 22 breed sections will be judged by top-quality judges from around the country. It’s an exciting display for every visitor. As usual, there are many opportunities for exhibitors to gain points through qualifiers held at the Royal Norfolk Show.

A major highlight for the show this year is the hosting of the Red Poll National Show.

The Red Poll was produced by crossing the milky Suffolk Dun with the meaty Norfolk Red in the early part of the 19th century. The Red Poll Breed Society was established in 1888 and the breed was a popular milking cow and beef animal right up until the middle of the 20th century. The Red Poll could not compete with the Friesian as a milking animal and the arrival of the continental breeds triggered its decline as a beef animal. The modern Red Poll is used mainly in suckler herds although there are still several milking herds around the country.

Watch our show story video on Red Poll Farmer Megan Jenkins

The Queen’s Prize Perpetual Challenge Trophy presented on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will this year be awarded to the Best Animal in the Beef Cattle Section, including Commercial Beef, owner bred, by an exhibitor whose premises are within the county of Norfolk.

The highly prized Colman’s Mustard Interbreed Competition is the culmination of Wednesday’s classes, where the winning breed group will be announced in the Grand Ring during the Grand Parade of Cattle. The winners will be presented with crystal mustard pots from the well-respected and famous Norwich company, along with the magnificent silver Colman’s Mustard Perpetual Trophy.

The Beef Interbreed classes are on Thursday morning. The judge will decide who from the previous day’s judging should be crowned Native and Continental, Male and Female, and overall Supreme Beef Champion.  In the dairy rings, during the Dairy Interbreed Championship, the judge will decide the Champion Female, Champion Pair and Group Champion Dairy Champions.

Also on Thursday following hours of training, washing, grooming and getting to know their animals, the Young Handlers stock-handling skills are put to the test as they strive to become Champion Young Handler of their section. The beef young handlers classes, once again, are qualifiers for the East of England Smithfield Festival Young Stock Person of the Year. The calf classes will follow the young handlers, leading to the Championship Trophy sponsored by Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership.

PIGS
The Show has an incredible array of pigs.  With nearly 150 pens of pigs across all 10 different breeds, there’s always plenty to see! The Wednesday breed classes will lead to the Supreme Championship, qualifiers for the BPA Pig and Young Pig of the Year Final and Interbreed Pairs all to be awarded on Thursday.

Piggy Tricks and  Young Handlers will also take place in the pig ring, behind the Food Hall. Don’t miss the opportunity to talk to exhibitors and learn more about these inquisitive and intelligent animals. Modern and traditional breeds will be penned for visitors to admire. Please note, entry into the pig building will be restricted during the judging time when pigs are being moved around.

SHEEP
The sheep rings will provide a full timetable of enjoyment and talent, as approximately 800 sheep will be judged over the course of two days. Experienced judges will select top-quality livestock as champions for each of the 18 breed sections. The judge’s chosen champions from each breed section will be sent forward for the Thursday championships.

Butchers Lambs will be pen-judged in dedicated Butchers Lambs areas so the public can get a closer look. There’s plenty more to see too, as you wander around the different breeds after judging has finished.

The Thursday timetable begins with the Supreme Championship, followed by the Interbreed Pairs, Eastern Regional National Sheep Association Competitions, Trimmed Championship and Wool on the Hoof Classes. The remarkably talented Young Handlers will then take to the ring, competing in qualifiers for the RBST Young Shepherd and East of England Smithfield Festival Young Stock Person of the Year competitions.

SHEEP SHOW

On top of the formal sheep judging, showgoers can also watch the unique Sheep Show! Appearing at over 100 shows a year and in front of an estimated audience of 2.5 million people, this unique show has captured the hearts of many.

The New Zealand style team of presenters educate and entertain with their fantastic sheep all over the country. ‘Nobby’ the Norfolk Horn stands centre stage while others are introduced to their podiums. We learn about each breed’s attributes and how wool from the sheep’s back becomes a jumper to wear. The shearing demonstration is well commentated and has the audience captivated.

The 30 minute show is cleverly devised and is highly entertaining and extremely informative, a rare combination. The highlight of the show is the “The sheep show Hustle – Dancing sheep!!

Sheep Show (both days)

1000-1030

1200-1230

1330-1400

1530-1600

SHEEP SHEARING

Learn about the skill of sheep shearing and join Paul Seabrook, with commentary by Philip Eagle, as they give us some sheep shearing demonstrations in time for summer.

In the UK we shear sheep for wool as a commercial product and for animal welfare. Shearing reduces the chance of sheep getting over hot in the summer as well as helping to prevent other health issues.

Sheep Shearing (both days)

1030-1100

1130-1200

1230-1300

1400-1430

1500-1530

1600-1630

DAIRY GOATS
The extremely popular Dairy Goats will be on show throughout both Show days in their back-to-back Shows. Nine different breeds will be judged in the ring, all aiming for the Championship title and various British Goat Society breed challenge certificates and cups. Goatling and Kid classes will also take place, offering exhibitors the chance to display the off-spring of their show stock. The Goat marquee is a friendly place to be, with lots of interesting goat facts, activity sheets and quizzes, and you can even meet and pet the kids or take part in the young handlers master-class.

SMALL LIVESTOCK
Many different breeds of rabbits, cavies, ducks, chickens, turkeys and up to 1,000 eggs can be viewed in this highly popular marquee. Judges from all over the country will be examining the entries which range from Pet Juvenile classes up to the Best of Breeds. Championship Rosettes & Diplomas awarded by the British Rabbit Council will be on offer, together with many poultry rosettes from supporting clubs. This year, there is a large emphasis on education in the small livestock tent. Take the opportunity to see the life cycle of a rabbit, including meeting a rabbit in a showing class, along with a range of information about the Norfolk Grey chicken, a local breed of poultry.

MR MAWKIN’S FARM

Mr Mawkin’s Farm is the place to head to if you want to see a wide variety of breeds all in one dedicated space. Mr Mawkin is our friendly scarecrow. Catch him strolling around the farm near the sheep rings, and pop in to see more than 30 different breeds of livestock from his farm, including cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, as well as his rare breed turkeys, fascinating ducks, and rare breeds of poultry.  Visitors can get up close and learn about the many diverse breeds from all corners of Great Britain and beyond. Many of the animals are rare and native breeds that feature on the Watchlist of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Meet some of the rarest sheep, including our very own Norfolk Horns, and watch the baby piglets with their mother.

Visitors will be able to enjoy demonstrations and talks about some of the many diverse breeds in our display ring, join in the interactive, rare and extraordinary livestock demonstrations.

The spinners will be hard at work – marvel at Mr Mawkin’s Wall of Wool featuring almost all of the rare sheep breeds, and watch the progress of the ‘From Sheep to Shawl’ challenge where you can see every step in the process of producing a garment from wool – from shearing to the finished shawl – all in one day!

Mr Mawkin’s Farm is the perfect place to see some of Norfolk’s best loved livestock, big and small. Keep an eye out for the old fashioned Norfolk Shepherd’s Hut nearby, linger over lunchtime to listen to Mr Mawkin’s very own story written especially for this year’s Show, and grab the chance to have your photograph taken in our new ‘capture the moment’ cut-out photo board!