Despite the late summer heatwave, The Henley Show was still popular with a wide array of attractions both new and old. In the Village this year, there were the two new events: axe throwing and archery. Both of these tempted people to test their skills, but it wasn’t always as easy as it looked. Still many gave it a go.
The Henley Veterinary Practice had a trade stand for the first time and it was very popular with children with lots of interactive displays including, finding the foreign object in X-Rays, performing surgery on a (toy!) dog to see what he might have mistakenly eaten, practicing bandaging, dressing up as a vet, and guessing the number of dog treats in the jar, along with a special guest, a 106 year old tortoise. Veterinary Surgeon, Helen Hanley, said “We are soon launching pet health care plans. These are monthly payment scheme which covers all vaccinations, all consultations, flea, tick and worm treatment as well as a discount on other services.”
Other animal attractions included the very fun, Sheepdog and Duck show which caused quite a lot of excitement (especially as the ducks and dog didn’t always stay in the show ring), the Gamegoer Working Dog Demonstration, the Falconry Display and ferret racing. Unfortunately, it was too hot for the ferrets to race but children still loved seeing them in their playpen and they were allowed to pet them.
The popular Aldabra tortoises were back this year and children and adults alike enjoyed joining them in their pen. The tortoises, originally from Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, are some of the largest in the world.
Show jumping was back this year after it was cancelled last year due to hard ground and it drew a large crowd. Local Invesco employee, Jade Bennett, and her horse, Vamps did really well who was competing for the first time at Henley Show. She entered four classes. In the Rare and Foreign Breeds class she came third, in the Ridden Working Hunter, fourth and came first and got into the Championship and got reserve Champion. Jade said, “I was gobsmacked, and I was so pleased for him because the day was such a challenge in terms of the heat. The ground wasn’t that brilliant – Henley had tried to make it as best as they can by spraying it with water every day and trying to aerate to at least make it comfortable for the horses to move on – but it ended up being the case that a lot of horses were slipping about. I made the decision to put studs in Vamps’ shoes (it’s a bit like having running spikes) to make it easier for him to grip the ground, and that obviously helped! So we ended up doing really well and overall having a really good day despite the weather!”
“I was really pleased with him. It was the first time doing any sort of showing for me, so I didn’t know what to expect. The judges were really kind and gave some good feedback as well. They said, he’s a lovely horse, you’re a very lucky girl, just get some help with showing. I appreciate that because it’s my first time and I’m just finding my feet with this. My jumping round said it all: as I finished I got a nice round of applause! Overall, it was a really good day.”
There was also the usual livestock competitions with many impressive parades and shows of animals, including sheep and cattle.
Sadly, the dog show was cancelled due to the extreme heat and also the poultry tent was also cancelled for the second year in a row due to the risk posed by Avian Flu. But there really was so much to see, including the ever-popular fairground, heavy horse displays, countless trade stands selling food, crafts, art, jewellery, garden furniture, clothing and much more.
In the Produce Tent there was amazing competition, with some very impressive produce. Tim Saint got first prize with a 500lb pumpkin and also a 100lb marrow. Tim said, “I start growing them in April.” Not wanting to give away any secrets, he added “cow poo is very helpful.” The produce tent also displayed stunning flowers, scarecrows, cakes and the most disgusting sandwich competition which was much loved by children (who all wanted to have a go at creating their own.)
Simmons and Sons, founding sponsors of the show had their regular stand, which attracted a large gathering. Partner, Thomas Dunn, said, “It has been quieter due to the heat, but we’ve still had a chance to meet with clients and people are enjoying the show.”
Chairman, Peter Webb, said “I thank everyone who attends the show, our members and sponsors for without you we could not achieve our charitable objectives.” In his message he reminded us that the Henley and District Agricultural Association is a charity which “promotes the growing and improvement of crops and livestock.”
With the usual wide range of refreshments, everyone was able to cool down and re energise to enjoy all the events. Throughout the showground there was entertainment at every turn including huge talking cows, dressed in some quite sparkly outfits, and also Magic Pike, a roaming magician who delighted crowds with card tricks and mentalism.
As always, it was a great, family day out and while it was extremely hot, the weather didn’t stop people turning up and getting involved, perhaps with just a few extra ice creams, along the way.