Don’t let the name fool you - the 2005 Lowther Horse Driving Trials and Country Fair doesn’t just confine itself to horses when it comes to four-legged matters. Canine participation in the Lowther Show will be on a par with equine involvement at the North West’s most celebrated Country Show.
This year the show, jointly sponsored by The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ltd., and Cumberland Ale, will take place on August 5th, 6th and 7th at Lowther Castle, near Penrith. The show will include a Hound Show on Saturday 6th, a Dog Show, Novelty Dog Show, a Jump for Joy Competition, Terrier Show and a Lurcher Show on Sunday 7th. In addition, a Working Gundog Competition will be held over both days.
Regular visitors to Crufts will be delighted to witness the skills of the Essex Dog Display Team, who will be performing on Saturday and Sunday. The team, who perform regular demonstrations at Crufts are the only civilian display team to take part in the Royal Tournament, and are sure to make an impressive debut at this Year’s Lowther Show.
The Hound Show in particular should prove a colourful spectacle, as each section will be presented in the Lowther Main Arena during the Grand Parade of Hounds, when all hunt staff will be in full uniform, accompanied by three mounted packs of Foxhounds, and a pack of Beagles.
The range of doggy activities and the strength of competition in the show ring at Lowther have ensured that spectators and competitors are eager to come back to Lowther time and time again.
Shirley Watson, from the Border City English Springer Spaniels kennel, is just one of many who have been impressed with what Lowther has to offer for dog-lovers.
"We have entered the dog show there at Lowther a couple of times with success in 2000 going best in show with my eldest Springer dog. All the classes are well sponsored with lots of treats for dogs, and from what I have seen from the standard of the show I find it a great day out with lots going on all around and plenty to do and see for all ages, lots of trade stands to tempt you, a great favourite of mine at the show is the display of the falcons and the birds of prey," said Shirley.
Sunday should prove a fast-paced affair with the dogs competing in the Working Terrier Show battling it out for a qualifying place in the Countryside Alliance International Terrier Championship.
The terrier competition is expected once again to pull in large numbers of spectators to witness a high standard of competition.
"It’s an excellent show and a very enjoyable weekend, as I remember from last year, and a very good standard of competition," commented David McKee from the Fell and Moorland Working Terrier Club.
The Lurcher Show will also take place on the Sunday, with the Champion Lurcher chosen from classes 3-10 receiving "The Greyhound", a fine figurine kindly donated by Border Fine Arts of Scotland. The Reserve will receive a Crystal Goblet and Rosette.
The Lowther Dog Dash will be held over both days and is open to any breed of dog and should prove a hit with dog-owners of any type. Owners will be asked to send their dog up the hill, over a small fence to collect a dummy that has already been thrown. There will be prizes for the fastest three dogs on each day.
The Lowther Show will once again be holding an exhibition of native British dog breeds at risk over both days of the show to highlight the problem of falling numbers. According to The Kennel Club, there are now 28 breeds of dog native to the British Isles that qualify as endangered breeds due to the number of registrations for each falling to under 300 per year.
Robert Benson, Chairman and Show Director for the Lowther Show, is determined to bring this problem to the attention of the public.
"These native dogs are our heritage as are our native ponies, cattle and sheep and they need our help to survive. Many have lost out in popularity to continental and easy maintenance breeds which seem to suit today’s ‘want a dog but don’t want to work’ culture."
"The dog shows and events at Lowther have been an integral part of the weekend for many years, and it is a pleasure to see so many dog breeds and pastimes traditionally associated with the county of Cumbria all in the same place."
Tickets for the Country Fair cost £13.50 for Saturday and £13 on the Sunday, tickets purchased before July 25th can be obtained at a discounted rate.