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08Jun 15

Royal Cornwall Show: dedication and commitment in every ring and arena

The Royal Cornwall Show is an event I can not not visit. I tried it one year and felt miserable for it. Most years I go on the Thursday as I love watching the working hunters. It really is the only showing class I care for as it is both sporty and classy whereas the atmosphere is always great. 

This year I went on the Friday and, boy, it was cold. So cold that, after having visited the Young Farmers tent and the Flower tent, I decided to invest in a seat at the Grand Stand in order to be out of the wind. There, for the first time in the thirty years I have visited, I watched basically everything, The quad-bike driver with his giant leaps; the phenomenal bird of prey display from Ben Potter with eagles soaring closely over the heads of the spectators; all the different hunts from around the county creating total chaos; the parachutists who, unfortunately for them, had to wait for the wind to die a bit which made them have to land after well over a hundred excited hounds had run around the arena, leaving lots of presents behind; the grand parade with all the different breeds, the giant South Devon bulls about the biggest, the dapper goats the smallest; the two Friesian horses Aurelia Van Burmania and Bounkje Van De Koetserij from the Tregothnan etsate trotting proudly and in total harmony around the arena in front of their immaculate carriage; and the last show-jump class of the day, the Open Accumulator, in which local riders Andrew Williams and Sammie-Jo Coffin made sure there were plenty of exciting moments.

The only time I left was for my favorite visit, a late afternoon wander around the cattle shed after all the rosettes are dealt, the animals bedded in loads of fresh straw, chewing away on well-deserved hay and breeders and handlers looking tired but happy, still fiddling about or chatting or just sitting back, feet up on the well-worn wooden trunk, evening sunlight oozing through the windows. It is the place where you find the core of the show, what an agricultural show is all about. Proud and hard working farmers who have dedicated themselves one hundred percent to producing the finest dairy- and beef cattle you can find.

So why am I talking about motorbikes, birds of prey and cattle so much in my equine blog? Because there is one thing everything previously described has in common: dedication. The same dedication and commitment I demand of myself and see in my pupils. It is the only thing which gives us the chance to become good at something. No matter how much talent the rider or how good the horse is, only putting in the time and effort will make it work. And there are no shortcuts! Shortcuts always backfire. 

One last note: I think it is terrible practice when riders are still to have their well-deserved round of honor, after having given us hours of excitement and entertainment, for most of the spectators to leave their seats in order to get to their car as quick as possible. 



Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

About Liz Barclay

Her love for horses together with her dedication made her into the trainer and dressage rider she is, today. She is versatile and inventive and likes a challenge; whether it is a technical training question, a confidence issue or a problem involving the management of the horse or pony.


My book 'THE FARMER, THE COAL MERCHANT, THE BAKER...' with the subtitle 'A Personal Impression of the Development of the Gelderland Horse World' has been received with more enthusiasm than I possibly could have hoped for. Click here to contact me and I will send you a copy. £7.50 + postage, or click here to order from Amazon.