A triumphant 186th year that saw the next generation shine

   28 Aug 2023

A bumper crowd enjoyed the sights, sounds and attractions at one of the oldest agricultural shows in the country. The Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show welcomed 45,000 people through its gates at the two-day event held in Lingfield this August Bank Holiday.

Competitors proved that livestock showing is well and truly alive in the south east with more animals than ever competing for ribbons. The weekend saw 300 cows in the show rings, 450 pens of sheep and pigs from 33 different breeders appearing at this year’s show.

Our packed equestrian schedule was bursting with almost 1200 entries all performing at a superb standard. 17 lucky horse and rider combinations won golden tickets to the Horse of the Year Show in October, 3 more won Royal International Horse Show qualifiers and one victorious pairing will be competing for glory at the London International Horse Show. Many more came to compete for fun in classes tailored for local children and enthusiastic amateurs in all disciplines.

And it wasn’t just the animals that attracted attention; monster trucks Big Pete and the Grim Reaper delighted visitors with four high octane displays across the weekend and the Dorset Axemen brought their entertaining show of traditional wood-cutting techniques to the Showground. Vintage tractors and steam engines, the Sheep Show, Mole Show, ferret displays and country sports were just some of the other attractions on offer, in addition to fun dog shows, terrier racing, and live music all weekend from local bands.

With over 250 trade stands in attendance, visitors could shop to their hearts’ content to stock up on country clothing and homeware. They could even buy tractors, robotic mowers and commission new stables if they wished! Producers of the finest food and drink from the surrounding counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent were all in attendance and bumper sales were recorded – bucking the trend of many shows.

Our 2023 Show President Mr Jan Boomaars welcomed Claire Coutinho MP and Lord De La Warr to the show this year, along with well-known farming social media influencers Flavian Obiero (the Kenyan pig farmer) and Zoe Coleville (the Chief Shepherdess).

Our CLM Overall Beef Champion was awarded to a British Simmental cow, Brandane Kirsty, owned and bred by well-known Simmental breeder Jimmy McMillan from Suffolk. The Downing Partnership Supreme Champion Dairy Female title went once again to Pete Prior; this year with his heifer Designer Brady Alicia who fought off stiff competition from over 100 other dairy cattle. The Dairy Cattle section was so well-supported this year with such strong entries that Jan Boomaars took great pleasure in presenting the organisers of the section with the prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trophy for the best exhibit in the show.

The BTF Supreme Sheep Champion was a Beltex ram owned by Mandy Friend. The sheep stewards were certainly kept busy when it came to organizing the young handler classes. They counted a record 108 entries! Supreme Pig Champion was a British Saddleback owned by Oaklands Pigs, with Inter-breed champion going to a Duroc pig owned by Oliver Giles.

Leading the way in the equestrian results for an incredible third year running was Will Morton who rode the spectacular Kilcarna Brilliant to take the title of Quitkick Supreme Ridden Horse and a £1000 prize. This horse, owned by Sarah-Ann Gun, will be competing in its Lightweight Show Hunter class at the Horse of the Year Show on the ticket won at our show.

New in the equestrian competition for 2023 was a Heritage Ridden qualifier for the London International Horse Show. This saw native breeds from Shetlands to Welsh Section Ds compete under saddle for a very prestigious ticket indeed. Kindly sponsored by Sparrowhawk’s Equine Cremations this new section was well-supported with entries and won by a Fell stallion, Greenrivers Luke, ridden by Sarah Parker.

Success in the showjumping rings was particularly notable for young Phoebe Farman. Just 17 years old, she rode Tracy Priest’s horses Iniesta and Diara Sue to take both first and second place in the biggest jumping class of the show, the Area Trial. Kindly sponsored by property specialists Jackson-Stops in Oxted, this was a very challenging course which Phoebe tackled with expertise beyond her years.

Joint Show Chairmen Holly Taylor and Bill Peters were delighted with how the Show had gone in their first year at the helm:

“We've had an outstanding show, with positive participation, excitement and involvement around all of our events. The aim of our show is to bring agriculture to the community in a relaxed setting, offering something for everyone, but what stood out this year was the attendance of the young generation either as visitor or participant in the show - something that bodes well for the future of agriculture in the communities represented. We want to thank all those who so generously gave their time to bring this fabulous event to life. Be they stewards, exhibitors, competitors, contractors and indeed visitors – our very grateful thanks to all. We can’t wait to see you next year!”