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.

Plus, The Queen’s Prize Perpetual Challenge Trophy presented on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is awarded to a different section at the Royal Norfolk Show each year and is on a 7 year rotation through the following sections: Beef Cattle, Heavy Horses, Sheep, Pigs, Goats, Dairy Cattle and Light Horses.  This year the winner of this prestigous award will be from the Sheep section.


The Royal Norfolk Show has over 200 equine classes taking place over the two-day Show on Wednesday 26 & Thursday 27 June.

 123 Light Horse In-Hand and Ridden classes including Arabs, Cobs and Maxicobs, Hunters – Small, Ladies, Working and Novice, multiple Mountain & Moorland classes, Partbred Pony, Show Ponies and Veteran Horses. Dedicated classes for all types of Rescue Horses supported by the local World Horse Welfare, Snetterton. Also, the ever-popular Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) with a Show and Jump Challenge.

50 Heavy Horse classes are hugely popular with classes for all four main breeds including Shire, Suffolk, Clydesdale and Percheron. Not forgetting the Best Foot classes and Young and Novice Handlers classes for teenagers and young adults encouraging showing stars of the future.

8 Show Jumping competitions including the Norfolk Area Trial and the prestigious International Stairway supported by British Showjumping.  Along with the exciting Ride and Drive competition, always a highlight as a Thursday Grand Ring attraction.

13 Private & Trade Driving classes including Donkey driving, Exercise Vehicle classes and the Concours d’Elegance, to be judged this year by local artist and sculptor, Rachael Long well known for ‘Lifeboat Horse’ as seen in Wells next-the-sea harbour over the summer and soon to become a permanent fixture on the Wells landscape.

2 fast paced Scurry competitions for Large and Small pairs on Day 1 plus the HOYS Championship on Day 2 – all to be held in the Grand Ring.

New for 2019 is the Farrier Competition with 6 different types of shoeing classes for the experts and also apprentice shoemakers.

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 to win the Jack the Giant Trophy.

There are 50 other Championship classes and almost 40 Special classes run throughout the Equine sections. Enormously popular Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers attract competitors from across the country, alongside qualifiers for the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS), which place The Royal Norfolk show at the forefront of the showing calendar.


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 21 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 British Simmental Breed Society National Show.

British Simmental cattle, whose origins go back several hundred years to the Simmen valley in Switzerland, were first introduced into the UK in 1970.

Since then the breed has grown to be the 4th largest beef breed in the UK and leads the way on the promotion of health in beef breeding cattle. Simmental cattle are probably the most genuine “dual” purpose breed that can be crossed successfully with any other breed and produce cows which are extremely milky, fertile, docile and with great natural mothering instincts.

The breed also possesses tremendous terminal genetics, with excellent growth rates and daily live weight gains of in excess of 2kg/day achievable in an intensive beef finishing system (varied results between heifers, steers and bulls).

With farmers seeking to run lower input systems and find ways of reducing costs, Simmental cattle are further increasing in popularity due to their ability to rear a calf on milk and not on concentrates. Coupled with high growth rates and carbon efficiencies, the breed offers a competitive edge and increased profitability in the present climate.

The Heygates Country Feeds Team of Five competition which will be judged in the Grand Ring on Wednesday. The team will be selected by the breed judge and must consist of five animals and include at least one male and one female. This competition is truly a battle of the breeds and will feature over 70 beef cattle in the Grand Ring.

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 Winter Stock 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.

The Show has an incredible array of pigs.  With nearly 170 pens of pigs across all 13 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.

The sheep rings will provide a full timetable of enjoyment and talent, as over 900 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 Winter Stock Festival Young Stock Person of the Year competitions.


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)






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)







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.

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 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.

Throughout the two days the Sheep Beauty Parade will provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about a diverse range of sheep breeds. Spectators are invited in to the ring to meet and greet the sheep.

Spinners will be demonstrating their skills working with this freshly shorn fleece. Again, visitors are welcome to ‘have a go’ if they wish. The Wall of Wool will be on display – we are gathering together skeins of fibre from every breed of UK sheep, that’s more than 60 individual and unique breeds.

Our craft table will invite youngsters to make their own rare breed using a range of materials provided and a Name the Calf competition will take place throughout the Show.

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 and grab the chance to have your photograph taken in our new ‘capture the moment’ cut-out photo board!