Great Day at BDS Wales Show

Quality turnouts, lots of smiles and radiant sunshine was the winning formula for the BDS Wales Show this year. Ever evolving the show tried out new classes, but the most popular remain the exercise and pleasure driving classes followed closely by the Concours d’Elegance and Best Turned Out. Newcomers to the show and also showing generally went away happy with the experience and promising to return next year and bring on the challenge for the ribbons!

New for the show were the Derrick Whiting Championships which was an idea born by the Show Committee with the hope that it would celebrate both Exercise Vehicle turnouts and Private Driving Turnouts which compete at the BDS Area Shows and the Agricultural shows in Wales and also encourage members to support those shows. The idea being to qualify for the Championships from these shows. This endeavour has been most ably and enthusiastically supported by the BDS Wales Show President, Derek Whiting and his lovely wife, Cynthia who also donated four wonderful fine art prints to go to the Championship titles. These and the accompanying sashes were made much of by the recipients at the championship presentation. Congratulations to Rhian Ralph with Mrs A. Birch’s Penclose Wotsit, Derrick Whiting Private Driving BDS Wales National and Welsh National Champion and also to Avis Purnell with her own Maesmynach Rhapsody, Exercise Vehicle BDS Wales National and Welsh National Champion.

The Championships are always a beautiful sight, with the best of the days’ classes coming forward and whips and supporters fervently hoping that their pride and joy hasn’t peaked too early for the main titles. It was last years’ Reserve Private Driving Champion that strode out confidently to take the Champion title this year putting on a splendid performance throughout the day, taking the C.A. Jones Private Driving Over 13.2hh class in the morning and culminating with the Arwel Davies Joinery Welsh Lawn Championship in the afternoon. Congratulations to Andrew Hamilton-Rhodes with Brookeborough Reflection. Reserve to Andrew stood the Welsh Champion, Rhian Ralph, with Mrs A. Birch’s Penclose Wotsit. During the course of the day, Rhian accumulated wins in the H. & R. Stevens Lady Whip Class and the HT Installations Diamond Jubilee Celebration Best Turned Out Class. Her groom, Rebecca Jones, took the award for the Best Groom. Rebecca also took the reins of a very familiar pair of Shetlands in the Pleasure Driving and Young Drivers class thanks to Wendy Morris and acquitted themselves very well. In the Grass Roots Championship, it was Young Driver, Jack Kedward, driving mum, Vicky’s, Gurnos Welsh Eyecatcher, who led the way storming to the Championship title, having qualified from the Young Drivers class in the morning. In addition, he took home the coveted Points Championship title, showing versatility and stamina over the course of the day. Close on his heels taking the Reserve Exercise Vehicle title was relative newcomer, Chrissie Teitge with Piper, who new to the show last year took top honours in the CHAPS Coloured Equine class this year to make a wonderful showing in the championship. For the third year in a row the show was thrilled to be able to host the Worshipful Company of Farriers Best Shod Award. This time the hard work of judging was taken on by Jim Bluxton. There were six class winners with final overall champion being Angharad Morris with Jenny Todd’s Springfield Park Rumpus shod by Gareth Thomas. Well done Team!


Good support in the Dyffryn Tywi Clinic Veteran Class led to a split between Veteran Horse and Veteran Whip although the award for the highest combination of ages between whip, groom and horse was a landslide victory for Ray Hopkins to his amusement, who also came second in the Veteran Horse. Alison Kesans with Monnington Verdi took the Veteran Horse title and was second in the Veteran Whip to Jenny Todd driving TregoleIsabelle. Stable mate Springfield Park Rumpus also owned by Jenny Todd and driven by Angharad Morris was the stunning winner of the Marneon Designs Private Driving Under 13.2hh class. A new turnout for this year being brought on slowly and showing lots of promise for the future. Another new turnout, of Hungarian grey crosses was brought forward by Modris Kesans into the A. Morris Novice Equine Class and their lyrical and elegant paces also caught the attention of Ron Higgins who graciously judged the S. Scheffler Concours d’Elegance. Spectators were treated to the thrills and spills of the will they, wont they complete the task, in one of the fullest classes of the day. Finally getting the chance to drive her own horse, Gurnos Welsh Eyecatcher, Vicky Kedward made the most of the action, easing through the tasks to take top billing in the Jenny Todd Pleasure Driving Class which showcased additional rosettes sponsored by Carriage Driving magazine. The Blue Chip Native Breeds Class had vouchers, feed samples and caps generously donated by Blue Chip taken home by competitors, but it was Welsh Section C Drysiog Daniel ap Jet driven by Vicky Morris taking the top honours in a (perhaps) swansong victory. Let’s hope not, Vicky and Danny boy have been stalwart supporters of the show for many years, but I hear a rumour that we may see them yet on the driving trials circuit instead! Long-time competitor, Lester Dagge and the good lady, Lynnie, brought their New Forest pony, Fern, which delighted in the H. & R. Stevens Gentleman Whip followed closely by Paul Manders with Foula Fred and Clementine Zorro put to a home built Shetland sized Park Drag. First timer to the BDS Wales Show and showing in general, Angela Cutforth, brought bay pony, Pont Pren Ben starting with the Dyffryn Tywi Clinic Veteran Whip class in the morning placing third and finishing in the afternoon with the Plas Country Pursuits Four Wheel Exercise Class in first position. A great first time out! If there was a prize for the most first prize placements, this would  have been earned by Avis Purnell supported by daughter, Janet with Maesmynach Rhapsody. This beautiful bay was first in the A. & B. Birch Two Wheel Exercise Vehicle Class and driven by both to take top honours in the Whip and Groom Class and finally driven by Avis and ridden by Janet to be placed first in the P. & R. Hopkins Ride and Drive Class. Fantastic!

Carmarthen Carriage Drivers (CCD) took to the ring to display their skills in the cones course to the delight of spectators and family. CCD are a disabled driving club set up Penny and Ray Hopkins to enable people with physical or mental challenges to grow and thrive through interaction with horses and carriage driving. It is always a pleasure to see them at the show, a feeling shared with their families and engendering the family spirit of the BDS and this show.

The BDS Wales Show Committee is thrilled by the support that it received this year both in and outside of the ring. Our sponsors have been enthusiastic and gracious in their support and on the day the personnel running the show were exemplary. Thanks to our wonderful judges; Mr R. Connoly, Mrs S. Higgins, Mr R. Higgins and Mr J. Bluxton who really had some tough decisions to make! I personally am overwhelmed by the sheer enthusiasm and thoroughly grateful to everyone involved. I hope to see you all again next year where we hope to dish up something similar. As always feedback is welcomed and perused intently.

Many thanks to Carole Tapp for the beautiful photos which we will publish here soon. These are only a selection, so if you were hoping for a glimpse of your gorgeous turnout and it isn’t here, please contact Carole.