Barley Saturday 2017

on Wednesday, 03 May 2017. Posted in News & Views

Barley Saturday 2017
Last weekend, Saturday April 29th, saw the fabulous spectacle that is Cardigan’s Barley Saturday. This unique event has its roots way back in history. Until the mid-nineteenth century there was a “Hiring Fair” held annually in Cardigan in April. Here, migrant workers presented themselves for hire to local farmers for the coming harvest season. Somewhere along the way this event became more about stallions than farm workers!


Before the days of horseboxes and social media, if you wanted a good stallion for your mare, you had to go and find one. So, for the convenience of the mare owners, and making good financial sense for the stallion owners, a stallion show and magnificent parade was held in Cardigan town. By 1863 this had become an annual event and the Hiring Fair became the “Entire Horse Show”. It was always known as “Barley Saturday” by the local farmers and was held at the end of April because, by then, the annual crop of barley should have been sown. Soon, “Barley Saturday” was its name.

Cardigan is a town that holds on with pride to its historical traditions and Barley Saturday is up there as one of the best-loved and most well-supported events of the year. The town’s High Street is closed, crowd barricades are erected along the route and locals and visitors from far and wide gather early in the hope of getting a good viewing spot. Meanwhile, on the local college playing fields, the stallions are presented and judged in a fiercely contested competition. Then the moment the crowds have waited for arrives and the stallions are paraded through the town to the absolute delight of the crowd. Barley Sat 1903

Welsh Ponies and Cobs, Shires, Arabs, Hunters, Riding Horses and Shetlands are amongst those who show off their paces as they are led with enormous pride through the streets. Cheering crowds light them up and add to the excitement so that some owners can only just keep pace with their magnificent horses!

This year there were more than 50 stallions on show, and 10 driving horses, as well as numerous vintage farm vehicles, tractors, machinery and cars.

The overall, Supreme Championship was won by the beautiful stallion, Ionos Llion. He is an 8 year old bay Welsh Cob, owned by Sarah Hughes, and shown by her son Daniel. Cardigan is in the heart of Welsh Cob country and this win was really popular with the crowds!

This really is an event for you to put in your diary for next year. Come and stay with us; we’re just a couple of miles from the town. Plan your holiday around this amazing, historical event. We’d love to see you!

Barley Sat Shire resize

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