Farmer Focus: Keep English traditions like fox hunting and dog trialling alive

The tups went in on Bonfire night and they have been going at it as if they were on Viagra, with most of the flock served in a week. I knew this was too good to be true as I have noticed quite a few coming into season this week; fingers crossed the rest hold.

I have tried to thin the ewes out a bit as it is so wet in this part of the world; we are just running them at three to the acre at the moment.

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The South Wold Hunt met in our yard last Tuesday; we had a great turnout. Our family like to support our local hunt as we believe great English traditions such as fox hunting and sheepdog trialling should be kept alive.

One of the riders had a scary moment at last year’s meet, as while he was on his mobile phone on horseback, his horse stepped backwards into one of our big ditches. It took four of us to pull the horse out with straps. Luckily, the horse and rider were both unscathed. This just shows you are not concentrating while on your phone, whether it be driving a tractor or anything else.

While things are quiet on the farm I have been busy training dogs, some to sell and some to trial. Every year I purchase some Herdwick ewe lambs from my good friend and mentor Thomas Longton. These little sheep are ideal for training dogs and people seem to have gone mad, as highlighted by a recent piece in Farmers Weekly with Herdwick mugs being highlighted as ideal Christmas gifts. 

My Herdwicks have been flying off the shelves also as farmers have seen them in the field and purchased them for a crimbo present for their wives. I have to chuckle to myself though as little do these farmers know, the Herdwicks’ middle name is Houdini. They might not be chomping on their Christmas dinner, instead out searching for their new found pets in the next parish on Christmas Day.