COUNTRYSIDE Live 2019 kicked off with fantastic competition, celebrity entertainment and the launch of the new Fodder Garden.

Julia Bradbury headlined the two-day event for the first time and organisers were delighted to welcome back Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen and Peter Wright from The Yorkshire Vet.

There were more activities for children than ever, including a ninja assault course, climbing wall and ride-on tractors, to name a few.

In the judging rings, the Ridden Coloured Horse and Pony Championship, the Beef Fatstock Championship and the Pigeon and Rabbits Best in Show, were all held.

Saturday began with Julia Bradbury opening the Fodder Garden - a series of sculptures made by Emma Stothard to celebrate ten years since the farm shop café opened.

Julia was also presented with a wreath made of leftover Great Yorkshire Show wristbands made by volunteers from the Cone Exchange. Set up in 2003, the Cone Exchange is the flagship community recycling project for the famous Bettys & Taylors, Harrogate.

Peter Wright attracted crowds when he took to the Main Stage and fans had come from Cumbria and Lancashire to meet the popular TV vet.

Over in the judging rings, the Ridden Coloured Horse and Pony Championship went to Native type, Return Ticket, owned and ridden by Chloe Hardwick of Stokesley. Reserve went to Amy Taylor of County Durham on Kevin Walker’s skewbald gelding, Hillgarth Court Jester.

The Supreme Beef Championship went to Hannah Donaldson of Huby, near York, with her Limousin steer, Haribo. It was a first major win for 23-year-old Hannah. Reserve went to Dion Hughes of Corwen, Denbighshire.

It was a third Best in Show in a row for the owner of the winning rabbit, Adele Wray of the Foxwood Stud in Wilmslow, who took the title with a four-and-a-half month white Angora named Julliet. It was the rabbit’s second show and second Best in Show title.

The Pigeon section was highly competitive, with 470 entries from as far afield as Norwich and Newark. The Best in Show title went to the man who builds the pigeon pens for events at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Sean Morrow of Durham, with an English Long Faced Muffed Tumbler. It was a first win at Countryside Live for Sean, who has about 700 pigeons.

Animals In-Tuition in Hall 2 proved a hit with the youngsters who could handle a range of animals not usually found on the farm, including snakes and tarantula spiders.

The Northern Show Cross Championships had to be cancelled the day before the event began because the main ring was too wet for the speed jumping competition to take place safely. All other classes went ahead as planned, with good entries across the board.

On the Sunday Julia Bradbury was joined by surprise guest Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, making an appearance on the Main Stage, while the crowds turned for Julian Norton, as they had for fellow The Yorkshire Vet star Peter Wright on the Saturday.

Charles Mills, show director, said: “We’ve had two days of celebrating the very best of farming with some tough competition in the judging rings and plenty of entertainment for families. There’s also been lots of hands-on activities for children to learn about the countryside in a fun and interactive way.”

The Supreme Championship in the new Pedigree Calf classes was won by Mark Hallam and David Wright of Ashbourne in Derbyshire with a British Blue heifer, Dewlands Olivia, while Reserve went to Martin Clough of Lincolnshire’s Red Lincoln heifer, Beverley Heroine.

The Champion Young Handler title went to Elliw Roberts of Anglesey with a British Limousin heifer, Blaencwn Pixie, owned by Mr and Mrs D Davies.

The Olympia ticket for the Ridden Mountain and Moorland Champion went to eight-year-old dun Welsh Section D stallion, Menai Eurostar, ridden by Clare Fitch and owned by Karen Johnson of Ross on Wye, Herefordshire. Reserve was John Elliott of Derbyshire’s 11-year-old black Dales mare, Stuffynwood Primrose, ridden by Lauren Beaumont.

The Supreme Champion in the Poultry section, which attracted more than 1,000 entries, was won by a Black Leghorn bantam, bred by Ellis Heeley of Drighlington. Ellis, who works at RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate, decided she would like to get involved in showing just a year ago and the win was her first Supreme Championship.

In the sheep rings, competition was as fierce as ever for the Supreme Champion Pair of Butchers’ Lambs. The title went to two Beltex cross gimmers owned by Ian, Mary and Richard Lancaster of Clitheroe. Reserve were Martin and Val Brown of Leyburn with a pair of Suffolk x Beltex gimmers.

Two young Cumbrians battled for the Sheep Young Handler title, with the Championship going to 11-year-old Oliver Watson with a Jacob, while seven-year-old Leah Parker took Reserve with a Texel x Beltex.

In the Honey section, the Yorkshire Post Cup for the most points in the show went to first-time entrant Josephine Anderson of Hebden Bridge. It was her first-time showing honey produced from two hives at home and she also took another two trophies as well as sharing a third. The prize for the Best Exhibit in all classes went to Kathleen Brown of Pontefract for her decorative beeswax flowers.

Now in its 17th year, Countryside Live usually attracts around 12,000 visitors across two days. As well as family activities, there are 2,000 animals who converge on the showground over the two days to compete.