A record number of horses are going Live

Chainsaw carver Mark Bell will be making his debut appearance at the show.
Chainsaw carver Mark Bell will be making his debut appearance at the show.
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The Great Yorkshire Show’s little sister, Countryside Live, returns to the Harrogate showground next weekend boasting a record number of equine entries.

More than 12,000 visitors are expected at the two-day event in its 11th year and organisers at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society are delighted with the enthusiasm for the show’s horseriding classes.

Some 335 entries have been received for equestrian competitions, beating last year’s record of 303.

Show director Bill Cowling said: “Since equine classes were introduced back in 2008, the section has gone from strength to strength and it’s very much an integral part of the whole event. We also try to include new elements that are fun and interesting, whether or not you are knowledgeable about horses. This year for the first time we are featuring the driving trials which will be great to watch, with competitors manoeuvring their horse-drawn vehicles round various obstacles.”

In total, 2,828, entries have been received for the show’s competitive classes which range from pigeons and poultry to sausages, honey and livestock.

New features this time include the North East Driving Trials, which take place in the Main Ring on Saturday afternoon and have attracted entries from competitors of national standing.

Tara Wilkinson, of Shelf, Halifax, who was a member of the gold medal winning British team at the 2012 World Young Drivers Championship, will be competing and so will the recently crowned British National Novice Champion, Stephanie Milner of Huggate, near York.

The Northern Show Cross Final combines showjumping and cross country and some of the best native ponies will compete in the Olympia Heritage Mountain and Moorland ridden qualifiers section.

Meanwhile, the show sees a debut appearance by Selby-based chainsaw carver Mark Bell who will be demonstrating how he makes his intricate wooden sculptures.

Mr Cowling is hoping for as many as 15,000 visitors.

He said: “It’s a very family-orientated show with great livestock.”

On how the event differs from the Great Yorkshire Show, he explained: “There’s not much breeding stock. It’s a prime food stock show so the livestock is very much the end product which makes it much more of an event for the family to take a look at rural life.

“Everyone that comes through the gate is a customer in some form in agriculture and we have to deliver on that so that they are learning a bit about where food comes from – it’s a very important part of the show.”

Picking out a highlight, Mr Cowling added: “I’m looking forward in particular to the Young Handlers competition which is a chance to see young people in the beef and sheep sectors who are the future of showing. There are 30-odd entries this year and the interest is terrific.

“The show is a training ground for them in front of a crowd of people, in a pressure environment and it takes them to the next level.”

Scene is set for Countryside fun

Countryside Live takes place on the weekend of October 19-20 at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Railway Road, Harrogate.

Tent locations were being marked up at the venue this week as the infrastructure was put in place ahead of the show. Organisers are hoping for good weather but the event does benefit from being largely indoors.

Tickets at the gate will be priced at £10 for adults, £5 for children aged five to 18 and £28 for a family of two adults and three children. Gates open at 9am. For more details, visit countrysidelive.co.uk