Sherberton Border reiver, Riggit Galloway bull , with Two Mills herd
© Dave Franciosy

The Riggit Galloway Cattle


Newsletter Autumn 2014

Mochrum Flora on Dartmoor

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The Riggit Galloway Cattle Society
Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
President: Neil Alsop

Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2015

Alison Bunning has had a very successful year again, variously assisted by a rolling crew of enthusiastic RGCS helpmates, notably Gemma and Cliff. Highlights included the first ever Riggit Group of Three being led out at the Devon County Show, Sherberton Dory (pictured right, with Harriet) taking a championship at the Royal Three Counties at Malvern with Hatherland Finlay the reserve,. Frome put on mixed Galloway classes - which went down very well - the different types of Galloway standing together in the ring drew much attention. Notably, bystanders aren't asking 'Wot are they?', but rather can be heard to say 'Aah, they're Riggit Galloways, aren't they lovely!'

Still in the Southwest, Karin Chandler-Wilson from Dorset has taken her cow and calf (Hatherland Cassiopiea and Jaslu Athena) out at the Sherborne Rare Breeds show.

It is hoped that some Riggits will be led out at the Dumfries show in 2016, tying in with the world congress. Currently members in Scotland have only been showing Belted Galloways and we should encourage them to try showing Riggits!

At left - Mollie and Daisy Keiley helping prepare Grannies show team. If only they had some Riggits!

The Society extends a warm welcome to new members, including New Zealanders, Barbara Fitchett, Kate Bradbury and Beth Mcverry, and associate members James and Mary Forsey in Dorset.
Movement within the Society follows accustomed trends, as associate members upgrade by purchasing cattle. In Dorset, Patrick Ford has sourced a weaned heifer from Hon Sec Anton Coaker for Darlene's birthday present. How he wrapped this heifer is unreported. The Fords are also implicated in attracting James and Mary Forsey, by buying them their 1st year's membership and a pair of RGCS mugs as a wedding present. And we should congratulate Harriet Bunning on her appointment to the Belted Society Council.

Breeding news
There have been plenty of calves reported, with marked calves up and down the country, young bulls being swapped or lent, and heifers finding new homes. In the Cumbrian mists of Dentdale, the Richardsons have had a successful season, including the sale of a Riggit heifer for export to Germany. In Sussex, Caroline Fitzgerald, Ashdown Forest, has 3 marked heifers this year - Aspidistra, Asphodel and Angelica. Well done!
On Dartmoor, Hon Sec Anton has had a few marked calves by Clifton Firethorn. However new bull Sherberton Fergus, despite throwing some very well put together calves on Firethorn daughters, has left mostly whites, blacks and reds. Karin Chandler-Wilson has secured a young red Riggit bull -'Hatherland Firefox'- from Alison Bunning, which will no doubt be handy for Darlene Ford.
Most exciting has been news coming from Richard Cunningham, above Loch Ken near Castle Douglas. After a couple of crops by Clifton Dougal with very few marked calves, Richard has suddenly had 13 in one year. Out of some very good White and Black Galloway cows, they're an outstanding bunch. One bull calf has been sold for breeding, and there are 2 good entires left, being cut next week (beginning 14th Dec) if no-one else wants them. Phone Richard Cunningham 01644 420636 / 07849 640791
As well as new UK calving now being recorded onto the new software, Alison Geen and Alison Bunning have been busily entering information from New Zealand, building their foundation register. There are inevitable complications and confusions, with the differences between NZ ear tagging and registration systems and our own, and finding a way to fit the 2 situations together.
So far 16 animals have been entered, including some very smart looking beasts indeed. These are exciting times for the Kiwis, and we're very pleased to have been able to help them.

A rural story
A great thumping on the farmhouse door one evening brought little Johnny to the porch. Outside stood the neighbouring farmer Arthur Dagglebury, with his teenage daughter Mary beside him. looking somewhat sheepish. 'Evenin' Mr Dagglebury' says young Johnny, ever polite. 'Evenin young man' says the visitor, 'Can I have a word with your Dad?' 'Sorry Maister, he's not back from market yet' replies Johnny. 'What about your older brother Seth then?' 'No, sorry sir, he's with Dad. But look, I'm sure I can help. If you want to borrow a tool or something, I know where everything is. Or I can take a message'. 'Hmm' said the neighbour, 'It's a bit difficult. See, I want a word with em because it seems your brother Seth has got our Mary here in the family way'. 'Oh' says Johnny, looking a bit thoughtful, then downcast. 'I don't think I can help you then. I know Dad charges £100 for the bull, and the pick of the litter for Shep. But I durn't know how much he charges for Seth'.

Summer meeting
Delegates travelled the length of the country for a foray into Dorset in August this year, to be jointly ministered to by Riggit breeder Karin Chandler-Wilson (and Johnathan), and Patrick and Darlene Ford. As well as a useful meeting in a cosy hostelry, excursions and activities took in visits to both commercial and rare/native cattle breeders locally, a bar-b-q, fish and chips by the seaside, and visit to a huge Iron Age hillfort. The aforementioned James Forsey kindly showed delegates his Hereford cattle, and it would be fair to say that standing amongst his herd chatting, as his impressive stock bull- the unbelievably laid back Merlin- ambled happily in among us, was a fairly sublime moment, and a rare privilege.
Over the course of the event, Darlene was eventually coaxed from her timid shell,
It's hard to convey either how much fun our outings are, or the debt of gratitude we once more owe our hosts.
At right - With only 1 Riggit cow and calf found on the tour of Dorset, Hon Sec Anton has to admire Patrick and Darlene's Belts instead.

Alison Bunning is preparing another bi-annual herdbook, to be available by the world congress 2016. Returns will be sent early in the New Year and the Society would appreciate it if they could be returned as soon as possible.

Reds! (Picture below)

As many of you will know, there is an ongoing discussion about starting a register for solid Red Galloways. Those of us breeding Red Riggits, or red Belts/red pointed Whites, get them sometimes, and there are always a few odd ones among the blacks in the Galloway Cattle Society.
The proposed concept is that members of either/any participating group could enter cattle, with registration fees due to whichever group holds the register. Please contact the Hon Sec if you're interested

World Galloway Congress
Plans for the Congress are being finalised. Centred at Gretna, Scotland, August 5th to 10th, with farm visits, the National show of Galloways in Dumfries, and various excursions. Places in the main hotel for the full 5 day event are fully booked, however there is additional space and places being located. Full details can be found on the Belted Galloway Cattle Society website.
The RGCS will have a presence in and around the Congress, and there are plans evolving to include a tour of the Westcountry before or after the main event, for overseas delegates. This should combine with our own summer jamboree.

Winter meeting
The winter meeting is planned for February 10th 2016, in the usual Midlands venue. Stay posted.

The RGCS wishes you all a Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year