The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has announced the judges who will be evaluating the country’s top cattle, sheep, horses and goats at the Royal Highland Show (RHS)
The show, which will take place June 22-25, 2023 at Ingliston in Edinburgh, will showcase the best of food, farming and rural life. David Tennant, head of show, said that the judges include some of the most experienced names in the circuit: “I’m sure everyone will recognise more than a few well-known names on the list. I and the whole team can’t wait to see them and our competitors in action next year.”
This year’s judges are travelling from around the world and will be tasked with deciding on Scotland’s biggest and best display of livestock and equine.
Overall Young Handler: John and Kate Dykes, Mendick Highland Pony Stud near West Linton.
Responsible for awarding the Dalchirla Trophy to the Overall Young Handler, Mr and Mrs Dykes have experience judging at the show – they previously judged Highland Pony classes, with Mr Dykes also judging cattle and sheep. In 1996, they enjoyed success themselves, winning the Highland Pony In-Hand class.
Overall Beef Interbreed: Keith Redpath, Heiton, Kelso, Roxburghshire.
Mr Redpath’s 50 years of experience in judging will be well-utilised at the show. He has judged at all of the main UK shows and was part of the Interbreed team who won at the 2022 Royal Highland Show.
Beef Breeder and Junior Beef Interbreed: Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfries & Galloway.
Hamish Goldie, member of the well-known Goldie family, runs the South Bowerhouse unit which houses the high-performing Goldies Charolais cattle and Lleyn sheep.
Hereford: Carolyn Fletcher, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria
President of the Hereford Cattle Society, Mrs Fletcher is well-placed to judge the category. She has been successful with her own stock, having won the UK sire of the year on two occasions.
Beef Native Interbreed: Colin Davidson, Sandwick, Orkney.
The Davidson family have run Skaill Farm in Orkney for 75 years – one of the most easterly farms in Britain. Mr Davidson was the winner of ‘Beef Farmer of the Year’ at the 2021 British Farming Award.
Beef Shorthorn: Jane Landers, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire
Mrs Landers manages the Cairsnmore herd at her family farm. She has previously made a name for herself within the Beef Shorthorn and Belted Galloway breeds and was Champion at RHS 2004 with Cairnsmore Trisha.
Overall Dairy Interbreed: Hugh Kennedy, Tarbolton, Ayrshire
Mr Kennedy heads the renowned Stair Holstein herd and had an incredibly successful year. They won the West of Scotland’s Winter Herd’s Team of Six, the Billy Scott Memorial Trophy and the reserve in the Summer Herd’s Team of 10.
Ayreshire: Ian McLean, Bushmills, Co Antrim.
Housing the herd on waterbed cubicles, Mr McLean farms Holstein milkers and 200 youngstock with 6 Jerseys, 30 Ayrshires and 9 Dairy Shorthorns
Holstein: David Hodgson, Carlisle, Cumbria.
A double award winner of the Holstein Master Breeder Award, Mr Hodgson also won the 2015 National Herd Champion of Holstein UK.
Overall Sheep Inter Breed Championship: Ian Hunter, Crieff, Perthshire.
Mr Hunter was an RHASS Sir William Young Award winner in 2018. He holds the record price for a Blackface ram at £200,000 and joint second of £160,000. He donated the Dalchirla Trophy to the Show for the Overall Young Handler competition.
Overall Sheep Pairs Inter-Breed Championship: Mr Keith Brooke, Newton Stewart, Dumfries & Galloway.
Former RHASS Director and Chairman, Mr Brooke, has held many roles within the sector. He is a former President of the Blackface Sheep Breeders’ Association, (currently Honorary President), Chairman of the British Rouge de l’Ouest Sheep Society and has served on the Boards of Wallets Marts and Scottish, English and Welsh Wool Growers.
Sheep Young Handler: Hannah Jackson, Annan, Dumfries & Galloway.
In partnership with her husband, Ali, Mrs Jackson bred the 2022 RHS Dutch Spotted champion that went on to be Reserve Overall Interbreed and part of the Interbreed Pairs Champions.
Texel: Flor Ryan, Prosperous, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
With 35 years of experience with Texels, Mr Ryan has judged for over 20 years and exported Texels all over Europe.
Blackface: John MacPherson, Dalmally, Argyll.
Honorary president of the Blackface Sheep Breeders Association, Mr Macpherson farms 10,000 acres across five different farms.
Suffolk: Pat Greaney, Usk, Monmouthshire.
Having won the Suffolk section in 2006, and in 1999 won four out of five of the Royal Shows with a Suffolk lamb, Mr Greaney judged Interbreed Pairs at the Show back in 2019.
Beltex: Mary Dunlop, Biggar, Lanarkshire.
Mrs Dunlop established the first Beltex flock in Scotland. She is the current treasurer of NSA Scotland and won RHS Beltex Champion in 2014.
Dairy Goats, Kids, Milking & Boer Goats: Nick Parr, Guildford, Surrey
Mr Parr is the current Chairman of the British Goat Society and has over 40 years of judging experience, both at home and further afield in Australia and South Africa.
Heavy Horse Section
The Queen’s Cup will be awarded in the Heavy Horse Section for 2023.
Clydesdales In Hand, males: Christine Halliday, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway.
A two-time winner of the Cawdor Cup, Mrs Halliday has a long history of success at the Show with Howgillside Clydesdales.
Clydesdales In Hand, females: Tom Clark, Crieff, Perthshire.
Mr Clark has been very successful with Muirton Spirit – winning Clydesdale Male Champion and Overall Champion at the Show for the past two years and the Cawdor Cup also. The Clark family have a long history with the Show, having won their first championship with Rising Star in 1920.
Shetland Ponies In Hand: Mrs Vivien Hampton, LLawhaden, Pembrokeshire
Miniature Shetland Ponies In Hand: Abigail Hampton, Llawhaden, Pembrokeshire
Mrs and Miss Hampton both have extensive judging experience both at home and abroad.
Highland Ponies In Hand, males: Jean Ralston, Methven, Perthshire.
Along with her husband, Mrs Ralston established the Moss-side Highland Pony stud in 1991, and has since bred over 130 foals, including many RHS champions.
Highland Ponies In Hand, females: Cameron (Dochy) Ormiston, Ballater, Aberdeenshire.
Mr Ormiston has had a long involvement with Highland ponies, but also Highland Cattle and Blackface sheep.
The Sanderson Trophy: Beth Sibbald, Thorn Farm, Dollar, Clackmannanshire
Mrs Sibbald has been breeding Highland ponies for over 50 years. Along with extensive experience with Clydesdales and Shetlands, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the Overall Heavy Horse Champion judging.
Highland Ponies Under Saddle: Mrs Gillian McMurray and Miss Kirsten McMurray, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway (Conformation and Ride, respectively).
Mrs McMurray has been breeding Highland ponies under the Trailtrow prefix for many years, with previous In Hand and Ridden Champions at the Royal Highland Show, and having judged at major shows throughout the UK and in Europe. Miss McMurray enjoys producing and competing her home bred ponies, previously competing at the Horse of the Year Show, the Royal International, the London Olympia Horse Show and National Dressage championships.
Working Hunter (HOYS) Ladies Side Saddle Horse (HOYS): Mr Allister Hood, Diss, Norfolk, Conformation.
Mr Hood has produced over 75 Horse of the Year Show winners, in addition to countless victories at the Royal International and all other major county shows.
Retraining of Racehorses: Amanda Bowlby and Michael Bowlby, Wantage, Oxfordshire (Conformation and Ride respectively)
Bringing his long experience of the racing industry and having previously judged the ROR final at Aintree, Mr Bowlby is also a former jockey, having ridden in the Grand National on six occasions.
Overall Mountain & Moorland In Hand: Erik MacKechnie, Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire.
Mr MacKechnie has been involved with para-equestrian dressage teams for many years and is currently the Para-Equestrian Dressage Pathway Manager at British Equestrian. He is also a Fellow of the British Horse Society.
Show Ponies (HOYS): Jerome Harforth, Yarm, North Yorkshire (Conformation) and Dawn Christie, Shangton, Leicestershire (Ride).
Producer and breeder, Mr Harforth, has had much success with Stanley Grange stud for over 45 years, and brings a wealth of knowledge having judged at shows all over the world. Mrs Christie is an experienced judge of Show Ponies & Show Hunter Ponies, has been Chief Steward at all the BSPS Championship shows and is an executive member of the British Show Pony Society Council.
Livestock entries will open in early April when the schedule of competitions will also be released.
For further information and to purchase tickets please visit www.royalhighlandshow.org.