UK National Poll Show 2017

I was both honoured and privileged to have been invited to judge the UK National Poll Show. Prior to the event, I was fully aware of the task ahead of me considering that this is the biggest exhibition of Hereford cattle in the United Kingdom. I felt a responsibility to the breed, the breeders, the organisers, the Society and how my opinion and the choices I was to make on the day, could influence and shape the future of the Hereford cattle of tomorrow.

As a breeder and stockman since I was a boy and working with all different types of cattle for many years, I have identified a certain type of animal which I know will deliver on all of the important traits that contribute to sustained profitability.

For me, the ideal female should have: a long, clean body of moderate frame on four good legs; well-attached udder ligaments with four, nice quality, accessible teats; a neatly shaped shoulder following a long neck; a feminine head and of course, good pelvic width.

The males should be quite similar in type, demonstrate masculinity and have well developed testicles. Further, for me it is extremely important to have a correct angle on the hind legs with a good depth of heel.

I am very comfortable judging this type of cattle. In fact, I was hoping I would be presented with cattle that would resemble this type. I was thrilled when the cattle started coming into the prestigious Moreton show ring as this was predominantly the type and quality of animal I was presented with.

Certainly there was some variation in each class, as one would expect, but the quality was remarkable. I also must remark that the professionalism and courteousness of the exhibitors will most definitely remain in my mind for a long time to come.

The enthusiasm from both the exhibitors and spectators was incredible. It was the strongest and most enjoyable competition I have ever judged. The respect that was given to me by everybody involved was amazing and for this I am deeply grateful.

A special thank you to my ring steward, Tony Whittaker. His professional approach and vast experience of the show ring was just perfection in motion. Also, the lovely lady Wendy Manning, her organisational skills and relaxed, ‘no-fuss approach’ deserves a special mention. Lastly, I must thank Steve Edwards and Ryan Coates for chauffeuring me to the showgrounds and back.

The quality of the cattle was just unreal. The overall winner was an outstanding cow, she had all the attributes you would wish for in the breed, just quality. Throughout all of the classes, from the females, right through to the males, there were many fantastic specimens. The top end of some classes I felt had progressed the breed to a new level.

Overall, my wife Rita and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Moreton. We have wonderful memories and have made many new friends. Whenever possible we will be going back again and again. With such fine people in charge and the passion they have for the breed, this show can only go from strength to strength.

A big thank you to everybody,

Matthew Goulding.