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Judges Development Day (Stanford Park Farm) – 7th October 2023

It was great to see so many new faces, as well as familiar ones, on the day, who embraced the concept of the day to promote confidence in the ring as judges, with good reason giving, with the use of the PA system and microphone: a great investment on the societies behalf.

In between and during classes, we were able discuss many subjects that the attendees wished to raise and this really helped the day flow, along with the leadership of our invited guest Paul Westerway. Paul’s ability to put people at ease and encourage reason giving was very infectious, which made the day a great achievement.

First class of the day was “Bull of any age” and immediately folk were keen to place the cattle.  As expected, there was a variety of different placings, but this led to a great and thought-provoking dialogue for those present.

Second class was 4 “Junior bulls”, of 16/17 months all bred differently, again great deliberation really got their judging juices flowing!  A big conversation on the Thurl, Pin and Hip placement ensued, this is where Paul’s experience as a dairy farmer really came in to pull away the vail of confusion, regarding this subject.

Third class, “Cow with calf at foot”, most of the calves had not been on a halter, but they obligingly followed along behind their mothers perfectly, free range! Allowing our budding judges to factor the calf into the cow’s performance.  Another confusing subject to debate for this class of cows from 1st calver to 9th calver.

Last class “Junior heifers” the Stanford Park team had really done a great job selecting cattle that would challenge the judges and this class really did raise queries as to what to do if presented with such a mixed bag! Use of the microphone became second nature and confidence of our new judges was clearly visible.

This judging day, following on from the one held in the North of England in 2022, showed that this is a great platform for members to share some of their hesitations and qualms about what are we looking for from our breed.  Reading their feedback forms, suggests that all found the day brilliant, with no room for improvement, only that they would like more of the same.

That said, next year the Society would need to be taking the judging day to either Ireland or Scotland, so if there is a potential host out there that would like to step forward, that can have the classes of quiet cattle able to be lead around the ring at home, then please do contact the Society Office and we can start putting some dates in the diary.

Thank you to Paul Westaway for acting as master of ceremonies, and to Mark and Hayley Stoneham for kindly hosting this event.  Thanks also to all the attendees, that helped with the leading of the cattle, as without you, we could not have led all the cattle out for everyone to judge.  Lastly, thanks to Simon Bradley Farmer and his team for all the hard work training the cattle in preparation of this vital Society event.

Tina Russell
Southern Director

It was a huge honour to be master judge at the Beef Shorthorn Judges Day. It was a brilliant well organised day and huge credence to the society for taking the training of their judges so seriously and in particular the work they are doing for Judges to give reasons; and also to all the delegates on the day, they’re were all outstanding and ensure the future of the Society is in great hands.”