Farming challenge series. Cattle farmers Robert and Sandie compete against Bridget at the Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show in Surrey.
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Across the country,
thousands of farming families work tirelessly around the clock.
Argh! Stop arguing, girls, give over.
But there's one day each year
where they get to leave the daily routine behind.
Right, here we come, Dorset!
These are show days...
-A very, very warm welcome to Malpas Show.
..where they come together as a community...
..to showcase the fruits of their labour.
I just love showing my girls off.
And try to win prizes for their breed champions...
..and award-winning produce.
That's a really nice cheese, that.
It was very good, darling.
There will be highs...
That's what we want to see, red, red is the best.
She's not happy enough to go.
..for the dedicated farmers who give everything to walk away a champion.
Cattle farming is one of the most
traditional forms of farming in the UK.
Today, we're meeting two families
whose lifeblood is connected to their herds.
Beef cattle farmers Robert and Sandy Tedbury from Sussex
and Hertfordshire-based Bridget Borlase
are busy preparing
for one of the largest cattle championships in the country.
Come on! Go on, Gem.
Winning awards helps boost the reputation of their livestock
and their business, so there's a lot at stake.
All year has been leading up to this event
and both families have their eyes on the prize.
Rural Hertfordshire is home to hundreds of farms.
And Bridget's family
have been working this farm for five generations.
Come on, girls.
Always loved the cows.
When I came back from school, my father said,
"That's where your passion is, you know,
"get on and you run that side of the business."
Having grown up on the farm,
Bridget now lives there with her own family.
Wave to him, Sammy.
And five-year-old son Sam already has farming in his blood.
I'm already five
and when I'm six I'll be able to trim my sheep on my own.
-Isn't that right, Mum?
-It is, son, yeah.
The farm has been in the family for 80 years
and breeding cattle has always been close to Bridget's heart.
My passion, right from when I was probably Sam's age,
was pedigree livestock.
Always loved the cows.
Bridget's grandfather, Bert,
first introduced the Simmental cattle to the farm
and now Bridget has grown the much-loved herd to 250.
I've spent more time reading the herd books
of how the cattle were bred than I ever did studying at school.
-Excuse my driving!
To manage a farm this size takes much dedication
and Bridget is up at dawn every day,
relying on her farm buggy to get her around.
It's one thing as a farmer,
we spend as much time driving in reverse as we do going forwards!
So, it's always really annoying when you meet people on the road,
on a narrow lane, that can't reverse.
It's always a bit of a standing joke with farmers that
the driving tests should be done in reverse.
Bridget's spent her life on this farm,
but this devoted cattle farmer can't get enough of it.
I know all the names of the cows,
probably more than all my friends' names, but I do.
My other half, James, thinks it's slightly sad,
but he likes cutting them up in the butchery!
The reason James likes cutting up the meat is because he's a butcher.
While Bridget is busy in the field,
James is running the family's two butcher's shops,
selling meat from their own cattle.
Orders come into me from any time from nine o'clock at night
through till midnight, very often beyond,
and we start at six o'clock in the morning.
The couple first opened the butcher's shop ten years ago
to try to boost business after the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
It completely knocked the UK livestock industry for six, really.
Many, many farmers were struggling,
particularly the sort of family farms, as we are.
So we were looking for something to diversify into,
had no idea really what we'd be good at, or what we should do.
But, by chance, really,
our local council encouraged us to think about selling our own meat.
We hadn't a really got a clue what we were doing
but we were guided by an ex-butcher who said he'd help us out.
And it snowballed from there, really.
We supply in the region of 20, 25 retail outlets,
anything from restaurants right the way through to just little cafes.
Today, we're delivering pork, lamb and beef.
We had one restaurant that rang us up urgently,
"Can you supply six sirloin steaks?"
We were closed.
So, "Yeah, how soon do you need them?" "We're serving starters now!"
So I had about a 15-minute turnaround from the call
to get six sirloin steaks to a restaurant.
We did it, got it done, great feedback.
Morning, guys, how are we? Morning.
-Morning, Tom, morning, Brad.
-How are you?
Yeah, fine, thank you.
There you go. Thank you, my friend.
-So, this is Tom - the chef/owner.
A multi-talented chef.
He's nearly as good as me, actually!
I've taught him all he knew! Knows.
They think they work as hard as we do,
-but I think we can beat them!
80 miles away, in Sussex,
farmers Robert and Sandy have been up since 6am,
tending to their 440-acre farm.
There's an endless list of daily jobs.
Good girl, Iris! Hello, sweetie.
I think, with farming, definitely they say it's in your blood
and I think that's right because it's not a nine-to-five job.
Unlike Bridget and James, who diversified to boost business,
Robert and Sandy have to rely on the income they make from breeding.
I am seven days a week, 365 days a year.
I cannot afford to employ anybody.
The income that I can make from what I do
will not service another full-time or even part-time person.
I do what we can manage without employing help.
As well as working on the farm,
Sandy sometime supplements the family income
with a little part-time cleaning.
That leaves Robert to deal with the day-to-day running of the farm.
As a modern-day cowboy,
he has the tricky task of rounding up 100 cattle,
not on a horse, but in a four-by-four.
Pedigree Aberdeen Angus. Eight years old.
Born and bred in Oxfordshire.
Great Chew Jericho he's called.
He has to move them round between fields
to make sure they graze evenly.
It's a huge undertaking that he has to perform alone.
Come on, come on!
I've got to go and protect my Land Rover now
because they'll decimate it.
Tsk! Go on!
Tsk! Go on!
But with cattle weighing up to 1,000kg,
rounding up a herd can be dangerous work.
In Britain alone, they have been responsible
for over 75 deaths in the last 15 years.
That's what happened to quite a heavy, robust gate,
with two bulls, one each side of it, wanting to get to each other.
They didn't get to each other, but they broke the hinge
and they made the gate look like Bacofoil.
As well as dealing with his own herd,
Robert also has to look after Sandy's pride and joy,
Come on! Come on, girl.
This way. Come on.
I saw my first Highland
35-plus years, actually more than that, I think.
We were up in Scotland.
I just thought they were beautiful.
I love the long hair, I love their big horns.
I just fell in love with them,
so I then started collecting China Highlands.
But Robert wanted to take Sandy's collection one step further.
I decided that I'd buy the wife a couple of calves.
I think it was an anniversary present,
-it could have been a birthday.
-No, it was anniversary.
To actually have the real thing, it was all my Christmases in one!
That is one of their favourite places of being brushed.
I could always sell them if we split up and parted.
We kept the animals and they were Highlands.
And their numbers have gone from two to 50.
Sandy just can't resist them.
If a Highland animal at a sale licks her hand, it's in, it's coming home!
Just got to lick her hand, that's all it's got to d.
It could kick her, but as long as it licks her hand, it's coming home.
It's not quite like that.
Back in Hertfordshire, Bridget is nervously waiting for the local vet
who works with over 100 farms in the region.
Hello, how are you?
Hello. All right, thank you. How are you?
She suspects one of her prize-winning cows,
who's off to the show, might be pregnant,
something she's been hoping for.
Getting her bred hasn't been as straightforward as it normally is.
Every time she's been in season has been when we've been away from home,
at a show or something.
We'll be over the moon if we have a positive result.
So it's fingers crossed that she's taken.
I'm just scanning with an ultrasound scanner, like humans do.
A calf from a champion mother is worth a lot to the farm
as they can sell for thousands of pounds.
That's really good news that she's in calf.
Thank God for that.
Just checking for twins now, and make sure there's nothing...
About 10% of our calvings would be twins.
We did have a set of triplets last year but that's exceptionally rare.
So, yep, just the one in there.
Like I say, heartbeat, so it's a live foetus,
-and taken a picture as well.
It's a great result for the farm,
but the prized mum-to-be is already carrying a few extra pounds
in preparation for the show, which is not ideal.
They're specially fed to go to shows.
It takes six months really to feed a cow to have it in perfect condition.
You're looking to get a bit more roundness and shape,
build it up slowly.
If you try and feed them very hard quite quickly,
all you get is lumps of fat, which isn't what we want.
We like them to be, we say, fit not fat.
-Unfortunately, show condition is on the fat side.
-Bordering on fat.
-Yes. She is a little bit chunkier than I would like.
She's just gearing up for the big diet. I'm going to join her.
With the pregnancy confirmed,
Bridget can now focus on the all-important show day.
Going to do shows is, for the cattle, our shop window.
Bridget spends hours getting them to a certain specification.
It's only 24 hours to go
and her cows have to look their best to impress.
First impressions as a judge are very important.
You want an animal to immediately hit you when it comes into the ring.
"Yeah, I like that. I wouldn't mind taking that one home."
If we can win some prizes, it can add value to that animal.
It can add value to that animal's progeny.
We're are all vying for that silverware.
They're set with hairspray.
They smell great on show day!
These cows have as much money spent on their haircare
in a year as I do.
Back over in Sussex, show day preparations are also in full swing
with prize-winning cow Gem, the apple of Sandy's eye...
Oh, hello, you.
Oh! You like that.
..being given a wash and brush-up.
She's my favourite.
I suppose because I started with her in the very beginning,
so I've done all the training with her.
The best bit about Gem is what we call homebred,
so she's my own breeding.
If you're lucky enough to win with a homebred, it feels even nicer.
To be a winner at the show, it's all down to what the judges think.
One judge will pick one animal,
another judge will pick a totally different animal.
There may not be very much between them
but the judge is always going to be right on the day,
even when he's wrong.
Right or wrong,
for Sandy, it's all about showing people her beloved Highlands.
I've got to say, of course I'd like to win.
But, part of it, I love, just love showing my girls off.
They're just beautiful.
For Robert, coming first is everything.
We like to win. I don't do it to be there.
All this money and all this time we've spent,
we have to go and do everything to the best of our ability to win.
With the big day tomorrow,
it's finally time to get the show on the road.
But this is a challenge in itself.
Some of these have been to shows and they're seasoned campaigners,
and they'll, we hope, load quite easily.
Some haven't been at all before,
so it can sometimes be a little tricky.
It's Gladiator the bull's first time away from the farm,
so he's a little cautious.
Bridget's son, Sam, is keeping well away.
It's always a bit tense, loading up.
Making sure that they get on alright.
We take our own hay because we know where it's come from,
it's been made here,
so they'll go to the show and be on exactly same food.
Meanwhile, Bridget's still struggling with Gladiator.
Bring the passports down - they're just to the left of my chair.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.
Paperwork has to go with the animals.
Each animal's got a passport.
The only thing it hasn't got, like yours, is a picture.
And Gladiator's finally on board.
It's now time for the rest.
All right, you get Fara, Ben.
I will hopefully be going down for a day,
which I'm not too bothered about,
although she does get a little touchy over it.
They get up really early,
pretending to fluff them and talcum powder them
and make them smell nice.
And I can just stay up and make sausages, it's easier!
Drive steady, you've got valuable property on there.
all Gladiator and the other cattle can do now
is to get their beauty sleep, ready for tomorrow's show.
Today, the Edenbridge And Oxted Agricultural Show
will open its doors.
Home to one of the largest cattle championships in the country,
this prestigious event is a highlight of the farming calendar.
Most of those competing have camped at the showground overnight.
But there's no time for a lie-in on show day with so much to do.
You want them to look nice
and to go out with a dirty bottom wouldn't look right,
so they've go to have a clean bottom.
Robert and Sandy have been up since 4am
making sure their cattle look the part for the show ring.
I'm apprehensive, I'm nervous
because, when you look in the shed, you think,
"Oh, is that one better than mine? Is that going to beat me?"
So you are nervous that you're going to make
the very best job for your animal and for your businesses at home.
You're going to show your cattle off
to the very best of your ability on the day.
You don't really know whether you've done that until it's finished.
Bridget has also been up bright and early.
I left the children with my parents in the caravan
at five this morning. I managed to creep out
and come down here to give the cattle their breakfast.
It's the lull before the storm.
Always nervous on show morning.
You've got butterflies in your tummy,
you're kind of anxious as to how you're going to get on.
The competition's looking fairly strong this morning.
Fingers crossed that we're going to do OK, but you never know.
As competition time approaches,
spectators are starting to fill the showground.
Around 40,000 people are expected at the show
to experience the very best of Surrey's country life.
-Everybody's going very nicely out there.
With judging starting in less than an hour,
Robert is giving the last-minute touches to their Highland hopefuls.
Get the parting down through the middle,
get it straight and get it tidy.
Shining up the horns, it's just baby oil.
Horns are an important part of the Highland animal.
Sweeping up for girls, sweeping around for the boys.
It's just finishing off the finer detail, that's all it is, really.
So, last-minute spray and a combing and brushing
and then, going out, you will see that we will do their feet.
That's the very last thing we do.
And then up to the show ring, and fingers crossed.
Over in the other pen, Bridget's also doing some final sprucing up.
We've got about six different shades of soap
and we try and match it as best as possible
with the actually animal's natural hair colour.
Quite nervous now - it always is.
It's always a bit of a rush, just the hour before judging.
We won't be talking to you in the last half-an-hour.
You can look and see, and that's it.
Ah, morning, you're here.
At last. Which hopefully means I've missed all the hard work.
-No, it doesn't. You can help me soap this one up.
Farmers have been showing their prized animals
at the show since the middle of the 19th century.
This show's been running for well over 175 years now.
Edenbridge has a fantastic reputation
for really high-quality livestock entries and to win classes here
is something that many of our exhibitors aspire to
every year, to win awards that help them go on to improve
the saleability of their stock.
But it's not just about the livestock.
We've got a superb display of vintage cars, tractors.
We've got our fairground,
food hall where people can try different local produce,
all the sort of things you might associate with the countryside.
It's 9am and this year's cattle competition is about to begin.
Both families have done everything they can.
-Hold her there, say, "Stop".
My tummy's going, I'm feeling sick.
The fear, I suppose, of letting my animal down.
I think that's why, I don't know,
I just wish I never had nerves, but I do.
Months of planning,
feeding and grooming have all come down to this moment.
-How are you getting on then, Bridget?
-Yeah, nearly ready to go.
Just final titivating.
Semis have started, so we're pretty much ready to rock.
While Bridget waits for her moment,
in the Highland ring, it's showtime for Sandy.
She's taking in her pride and joy - Gem.
Wait, wait. Wait, wait, wait!
Can I come out?
Wait, wait, no, no, no, no! Ooh.
No. Good girl. Good girl!
Good girl, good girl.
Good girl. Good girl.
There's just time for a quick pep talk before she goes in the ring.
It's me and you. It's me and you.
Is it me and you?
And into the ring they go.
Judging the Highland cattle today will be Archie MacArthur.
Well, a Highland cow,
you know pretty quickly an animal has got personality or not.
Archie is looking for a beefy body and a good coat of hair.
You want a Highland cow to be good on its legs, lift its legs up.
You want a set of horns that are going to come out symmetrically
in the top of her head, make her look graceful.
Gem is up against three others.
Good girl, good girl. Good girl.
Good girl. Steady, steady. Is that OK?
But it's not looking good.
We're not being very good.
-No, we're not.
-Oh, well, don't worry.
Coming into new surroundings and different people
is all quite strange to them,
so you have to take that into account
when you're looking at them and give them as much help as you can.
Good girl, walk on. Come on, come on.
Finally, Archie's picked his winner
and it's Gem who takes first prize.
But Sandy is distracted and doesn't realise.
And now she's on my stick! It's all going wrong.
We've won as well.
I thought that she was a good animal.
well-balanced for her age
and I thought, "Uh-oh, this one might do."
And sure enough, as the show went on, she did do.
Sandy couldn't be happier with her beloved Gem.
Yes, I won.
We done things wrong, but anyway we still got a red one.
So, excellent year. Good girl. Mwah. Right. Thank you.
And there's more good news,
as Gem's sister Cara has also come top of her class.
I love my cows, but I do love my husband.
Without him, none of this would be happening,
so I need... Yes, he's number one.
Now the spotlight is on Bridget.
Her judge today is fellow farmer Andy Ryder.
As soon as they come in the ring, I'm going to be looking at
something that stands out, you know,
and says, "Look at me", really.
And then you go for more of the finer points after that.
From its head back right down to its tail head,
you want a good width down its top line
and then, when you get to the rear end of it, you want a good shape,
especially on the bulls.
You want something with meat, really.
Bridget's also been a judge herself and knows what they want.
Now she just has to see if her cow Fara will tick all the boxes.
Yeah, she's keen and eager to go, so off we go.
Though they have stiff competition,
as they're up against a former national champion.
All right, Jim?
'Jimmy McMillan, a bit of a legend in the beef-showing world.'
Jimmy and I are great friends, we have been for years,
but we're always vying to sort of
just try and sneak one on the other one.
Jimmy aside, Bridget has another
four competitors to try and beat today.
-Is she in calf?
Sudden noises can spook the animals at the big shows,
so the farmers all use a stick to tickle the animals' tummies
and keep them happy.
Bridget is desperately hoping her pregnant show cow Fara
will beat her main rival.
But it's not to be, as Jimmy does it again
and Bridget takes second place.
Bridget's heifer was tremendous, but just not the power of the first one,
but still full of the characteristics
of the Simmental breed.
As Jimmy's winner takes its lap of victory...
Fair play to Jimmy, it's a really lovely heifer.
..it's back to the pen for Bridget.
Fara is six months younger than the one that won,
that makes a big difference in terms of their size and development,
so she's really held her own and I'm really chuffed to bits with her.
Let's hope it gets a little better,
but it's a really good start to the day.
Show days attract the farming community
and those who have never stepped foot on a field in their lives.
However, for the farmers, it's not just about winning prizes.
They work all hours
and this is a chance to spend some quality time together, as a family.
-We had some of those.
-Which is our favourite one there, Samuel?
When I was your age, we had a 135 and a 165.
They're about 60 years old, Sam.
Taking a well-earned break from the judging, Bridget, James and son Sam
have headed straight for the tractor display.
OK, so which one's this one, Sam?
That's a new one.
And right over there, there's a really, really old one.
Look at that.
-How old's that, Jerry?
-It's a 1908
and that's one of the first tractors after the horse.
We're here at the show today to show people
how farming was done back in the day.
Look, you used to sit on there.
-Sit down there.
And look at that. You needed big muscles for that.
It's important that children and adults, to a certain extent,
understand where their food comes from and how it gets produced.
That's your old combine harvester.
-That's a combine, Mummy.
-Yeah, that's right.
Machines like these would go on to revolutionise the farming industry.
87-year-old tractor enthusiast Tony remembers only too well
how different farming used to be.
Times have changed.
We used to do everything with horses in those days.
We used to get by.
It was a slower pace of life, but we got the job done.
In 1939, I was ten years old.
My grandfather was on his deathbed
and he said to me, he said, "Tony, in your time,
"you're going to see some marvellous things."
He said, "In my time, I've seen some marvellous things,
"but nothing like you're going to see in your time".
And it's happened.
And I say to my grandchildren, "In your lifetime,
"you're going to see marvellous things, the same as I have."
What do you think, Sammy, is it like our tractor?
No? Is it different?
Well, in little Sam's eyes, these modern-day tractors
are certainly marvellous.
So much so, he tries to strike a deal to take one home.
-Swap you for all of our cows and we'll take the tractor.
Do you want the keys now?
-Yeah? There you go.
That's the best deal we've had, actually! Ha-ha!
-That was a good deal, wasn't it, Sam?
-Yeah, taking the cows.
Let's go and see the rabbits now.
-I hope he hasn't locked the case.
-No, I don't think he will.
Break's over and judging is back in full swing.
In the Highland show ring,
it's the final showdown for husband and wife Robert and Sandy.
They're going head-to-head with their prize-winning cows,
Gem and sister Cara, for the prestigious Best Of Breed title.
And the pressure is on.
We would love to achieve Champion Highland Animal.
If we come away with that, we'll have a drink on it in the evening.
A champion title is one of the most sought-after prizes
at a show like this.
You need an animal with just a little bit of attitude,
because they show themselves off better
when they're out with the public.
The first Highland to get a pat on the rear will be the champion.
Stand up, come on.
Stand up. Stand up.
And Sandy's done it,
beating her husband to first place with her blue-eyed girl Gem.
-There we are, the ladies win again.
And Robert comes second.
Congratulations. All is well in the Tedbury household this evening.
Thank you very much to the...
-We didn't expect it, but we hoped for it.
We go out to win.
I've said it before, we're competitive, we come here to win.
-If somebody else beats us, that's showing.
And the first was first and the second second, how about that?
No, no, the wife was first and the old man was second.
Your wife was first, yes. What a wise man you are, Mr Tedbury.
All the exhibitors that I've seen before me today
have been a real credit to our industry.
Thank you very much for giving them your support.
-Give me a kiss.
As a married man,
it makes me even more happy that I came second because
it saves all the, "How did you come to beat me?"
You won it, my dear, so you're first, I'm second. I know my place.
Saved a divorce as well, letting the wife win, that worked very well!
And the... Whoops! I've got to go.
The day's competitions are almost over
and Bridget has gone on to win a first-place rosette
with her youngest show cow - Georgina.
-Thank you very much.
Great result, very happy with that.
Makes the job worthwhile.
And she made sure she shared the glory with the family.
It's the next generation,
working out what a rosette is and what to do with it.
I'm a proud mum and a proud grandmother.
To celebrate her mum's win, daughter Scarlet also gets in on the act.
-Want the rope?
-Scarlet, here you go.
Pull it, Scarlet. There we go.
Look, here we go, Scarlet's very first cow.
The competitions are now almost over,
but there's just enough time for Gladiator
to make his debut appearance at the final judging.
It's his first show, he's never been off the farm before,
he's never seen any of this.
He will be taken into the ring by Bridget's helper, Andrew.
I'll be watching nervously from the sides.
It's actually more nerve-racking
watching your animals being shown than it is on the halter of them.
So far, so good.
At least they've managed to get Gladiator into the ring.
-How old is he?
Gladiator's got in the ring first, hasn't he?
But the nerves are starting to kick in.
Bridget can only hope that her young bull will hold his own
against the other experienced competitor.
And Bridget's Gladiator takes first prize.
That's his first time in a show ring.
He behaved pretty well, considering.
Just looked a little bit nervous, a little bit apprehensive,
but that will really settle him down and put him on a good path.
It must be my caring, loving touch with him... He's alright!
The Edenbridge And Oxted Show is almost over for another year
and, with judging finished, the families can finally relax.
Our farmers have prepared for this day all year.
With some of their hopes and dreams realised,
they are all walking away winners.
Big smiles when you get a first prize, isn't it?
Dancing, yeah. We'll be celebrating tonight, Scarlet.
I'm a very happy girl at the moment.
Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
I'm so chuffed!
For Bridget, the prizes won today
will help secure the legacy of her fifth-generation farm.
Something she hopes to hand on to her children, Sam and Scarlet.
I've really enjoyed today, I always do.
This is what I'm absolutely passionate about.
The kids are having a whale of a time
and James has even enjoyed himself today.
-Dwarf lop, Samuel.
A nice day out, isn't it?
-Yes, it's a nice family day out.
And, for overjoyed Sandy and Robert,
winning will help sell their much-loved homebred cattle
and provide a boost to their farm.
We've got to be proud about it,
take them right to the top of their class.
-That today is a very proud moment.
The best moment for us today was Scarlet leading the cow
for the first time.
Look, here we go, Scarlet's very first cow.
It's a real proud parent moment.
It comes naturally to her
and it won't be many years before she's really going to want
a calf in that show ring herself.
Wow, Scarlet, would you like a cow for your birthday?
I feel 20 feet tall.
I can eat now.
Tonight will be a little bit of a party night.
-Time for a pint.
-Definitely time for more than one pint.
That's a first - on camera!
Heartwarming series celebrating inspirational farming families and the rural events which showcase their hard work, as they try to win the top prizes.
Today, cattle farmers Robert and Sandie from West Sussex and Hertfordshire-based Bridget go into the ring against the best of this year's beef cows at the Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show in Surrey.