A young handler will compete on his home turf when he shows a selection of pedigree heifers at Hope Show.
16-year-old Matthew Clark is no stranger to success in the show ring, having secured first prize in a Limousin Heifer class at the Great Yorkshire Show earlier this summer.
Matthew began his showing career when he was just nine-years-old and admits he’s been ‘hooked ever since.’
“When I was younger and I was showing a calf I needed some help but now I just get on with it,” he said.
“It is much easier now because I can move the bulls myself and this year I have already halter tied and broken two bulls.”
His father Andrew used to help him select and halter train the calves and youngstock but now Matthew is doing most of the preparatory work himself. The family’s herd of pedigree Limousin cattle is well-known amongst Limousin producers and their bulls and females have achieved top prices at breed sales in Carlisle and closer to home at Bakewell. Matthew has a clear idea of the type of animal he is looking for when entering for some of the most prestigious agricultural shows in the country, including the Great Yorkshire Show where he also won the Young Handler class when he was 14.
Matthew said: “I look for a stylish animal with plenty of power. They must have excellent conformation and stand out from the crowd. Choosing the animals to be shown at the start of each season is a joint decision between my parents and I. There are rarely disagreements, but I occasionally put my foot down.”
Matthew has already selected the pedigree heifers and a bull from the family’s Mayfield herd of pedigree Limousin cattle to enter Hope Show this month. He will be competing the prize winning heifer, Mayfield Jamaica, and is hopeful of a repeat performance of her win at the Great Yorkshire Show.