At Antrim Show on Saturday 23rd July the hugely successful year for the Belted Galloway breed in Ireland took another step forward.
With a turnout of fourteen top class pedigree animals resulting in some classes having to be split, there was a heavy burden placed on judge John Corrie who had travelled from Scotland to adjudicate on the entries for one of the oldest and most traditional breed of cattle on these islands.
First Class honours in the Cow Class went to Crookmuir Bonnie, owned by Brian Moorhead of the Briglands Herd, a four-year-old cow that went on to win Reserve Breed Champion later in the afternoon.
With the biggest entry in decades at Antrim Show of Belted Galloway heifers the class had to be split.
First up were the Senior Heifers and a wonderful exhibition of animals made the judging no easy task. After some very detailed and professional evaluation First in the Class went to Glensbrae Fiona from the Glensbrae Herd of Laurence & Colm O’Neill Second in the Class was awarded to Gruige Fanny from the Gruige Herd of Dessie Henry, Third in the Class to Glensbrae Krista, Fourth in the Class to Gruige Fianna and Fifth in the Class to Ballylough Lilla 2nd from the Ballylough Herd of Richard Creith.
Next into the ring were the Belted Galloway Junior Heifers and again judge John Corrie carefully evaluated each of the high quality animals on show. Dessie Henry’s Gruige Herd was again well placed, with First in the Class going to Gruige Glenda, Second in the Class went to Brian Moorhead’s Briglands Twilight, Third in the Class to Armoy Florence from the Armoy Herd of Brooke Huey and both Fourth and Fifth in the Class going respectively to Belonga Olivia and Belonga Olwyn from the Belonga Herd of Harry Irvine.
The Bull Class in any show where Belted Galloways are in the program always generates much interest and in Antrim this was no different, with many visitors making their way to the ringside for a close look and the stock on exhibition. First in the Class went to Southfield Poldark 2nd, owned by well-known breeder Richard Creith of the Ballylough Herd, Second in the Class to Crackley Romeo, owned by Dessie Henry of the Gruige Herd and Third in the Class to Woodbine Fire Cracker, owned by Brian Moorhead of the Briglands Herd.
Having carefully and accurately ranked each animal in the individual classes the final task for the judge of awarding champion and reserve champion in front of a now sizeable number of onlookers got under way. As with all earlier decisions, thorough consideration was given to the traits and characteristics of the winning animal from each class by judge John Corrie, before selecting the winner of the Senior Heifer Class Glensbrae Fiona as overall Belted Galloway Breed Champion and winner of the Cow Class Crookmuir Bonnie as Reserve Champion.
The dedication and enthusiasm of the Belted Galloway breeders in this part of the world has in no small way contributed to the revival of this very old breed. The easy to maintain nature of the breed and the high quality of beef that results from a very natural diet has established a growing number of breeders who can make the best use of land that many other breeds would be unable to survive on. Belted Galloways are well known for their ability to thrive on mountainous and rough ground and for many farms in a lot of areas this is a significant factor in deciding to stock the breed. Coupled with the reputation they have for easy calving this is why the Belted Galloway has made a comeback and continues to go from strength to strength.