It was our second year at Hole Park, Rolvenden, and after a great show last year we were looking forward to it, despite some rather dramatic weather the week before!
I started out in the World of Dogs area, where we had a huge array of minor breeds this time! From Cesky terriers and Australian terriers to field spaniels and a number of others, all the stands were surrounded by people all day, coming to meet a different breed and find out more. One of the best kept secrets of the show, because they’re a little young to meet the public all day long, were these two adorable sealyham terrier puppies – Herbert and Ivy.
There was plenty of gun dog work going on, with everything from multi scurries to working gun dog tests. A gun dog training clinic with Sarah Winter had a steady queue of people seeking help and advice with their dogs; and Paul Makepeace and his team did a number of gun dog displays over the course of the weekend, demonstrating the various stages of training a gun dog puppy. He also worked with Chris Neal to show how gun dogs and birds of prey (or even ferrets) can be used together in the field, and it was great to have the clumber spaniels with us, demonstrating how well they work too.
Other highlights in the Dog Arena were the ever popular Chase the Bunny and Terrier races; The Ditto Diamonds Dog Display Team, with their obedience and agility to music and Tome Longton and his wonderful sheep dogs!
Over at the Fun Dog Show, we had a great afternoon on both days, although Saturday afternoon saw the addition of a new and hopefully one-off class – ‘How many people can you fit in a marquee during a thunderstorm?’ All good fun and we were soon back outside again to judge the ‘Best Asbo’ class (winner pictured). We were also delighted to raise a £300 donation for local Cinq Port Dog Rescue so thanks to all who came and joined in and made that possible.
Over the bridge and to the rest of the show, where in the Andy Singleton arena the horse-boarders were finding the wet and undulating ground a bit of a challenge with some spectacular falls – or ‘face plants’ as their commentator announced cheerfully (no-one hurt I hasten to add). StuntMania Motorcycle display team wowed again, as did the Coakham Bloodhounds, who made quite a spectacle galloping around the arena with their pack of dogs, who thoroughly enjoyed meeting and greeting all the children who came in to see them afterwards.
The piazza area was busy, as were the food halls and crafts. The Garden of England Woodturners were back with us after enjoying last year’s show; and the glassblowing tent was full for every hourly demonstration. Over in the fishing and angling areas, people enjoyed trying something new and a bit different; and we had a couple of new chainsaw carvers working alongside the usual team, so it was nice to watch them in their first speed carves, creating some amazing stuff.
One little gem I found, new to Kent, was ‘Mousetown’. A little green tent with a big sign hid a whole model village full of mice. It was magical, and as more of the commentators discovered and enjoyed it over the weekend, it got busier and busier!
Outside of Mousetown, in the Countryside arena, we had the other extreme in animal size as Harvey’s Shires were gently plodding around the field, showing how their ancestors have always worked; and the falcons, working ferrets and fishermen who followed also demonstrated country ways and traditional sports.
All in all it was a great show and we are all looking forward to next year. But of a break from Country Shows now until Cheshire at the end of August, but we have two fantastic food festivals coming up in Nottingham and Sandringham at the beginning of August, so if you are in the area check out the food festivals website and come along!