The Suffolk Game and Country Show: Dogs and Tweed and Owls, Oh My!

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If you find yourself surrounded by beautiful, well-behaved dogs, men and women smartly dressed in tweed and wellies, cider and ales, guns, and birds of prey, you are either: out hunting, or at a country show! We did not go hunting yesterday. We were in Ipswich, attending The Robinhood Game and Country Show in Suffolk. This was the first time we’d ever been to this sort of event, and we really didn’t know what to expect. We knew it would be about outdoors sports and country pleasures, but not much else.

We had hoped we’d get to pet horses, and we were not disappointed.
But I’ll bet that the horses who had to dress up in medieval costumes were less than thrilled.
People were doing a lot of shopping. Mostly for the proper country sports attire.

These gentlemen were perfect models. I think it’s kind of adorable that people here still dress up for outdoor recreation like they did in the era portrayed by Downton Abbey.


Jeff decided it was time to get himself a proper hat.

Another hardcore outdoorsy activity dear to the English is, of course, picnicking. I saw the most elaborate picnic setups ever.

An enterprising Frenchmen was there to supply some basics:
Besides shopping, there were lots of things to do.
We watched a birds of prey demonstration, in which this gentleman insisted that the owls would definitely attack us unless we did exactly as he said. We lost interest, and went to see more beautiful birds up close.



I took Amelia over to have her first equestrian experience: a ride on Snowy the donkey.



That was the highlight of her day. I’m so glad– I loved riding horses as a child, and I hope she grows up to enjoy it, too!
The highlight for me was a little archery.  That was the best £2 we spent all day. Hey, it turns out that I’m pretty good! I got a near bullseye on the second arrow.

Doesn’t Jeff look so very English? I love these pictures.

Speaking of English-ness:
What a cute place for a “cuppa!”
What we didn’t know about the Suffolk Game and Country Show is that it would turn out to mostly be about dogs! There were beautiful and sweet dogs of every breed, and about 3/4s of all the stalls catered to dog owners. There were plenty of things to buy for your dog, of course, but also doggy experiences, like trying out swimming in a huge pool, or going through agility training courses.
I have to say, the English are very, very good with dogs. There were hundreds of dogs there, all in close quarters with each other and people, and they were all perfectly behaved. I was super impressed!

And there were dog rescues there, letting us spend time with some beautiful animals (always a Mullins family favorite!)

I’m pretty sure we need to adopt a greyhound or two.

The dogs were pretty into me that day. It was hilarious, and I came home with a lot of slobber on me.

Have you ever been kissed by a Newfoundland dog? It’s… intense.

It was a beautiful October day at the Suffolk Game and Country Show, and we loved taking part in this bit of local culture. We will definitely be there next year, and hopefully we’ll have a dog to bring with us! Can you tell that I really, really want one?

What sort of country fun is going on in your neck of the woods?

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17 Responses to The Suffolk Game and Country Show: Dogs and Tweed and Owls, Oh My!

  1. greatdana October 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    While I’m a jeans and sweatshirt girl I do appreciate your well dressed English people! Mostly though I want some wild boar sausage. I’m glad you had such a good time!

    • Ariana Mullins October 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Dana, dress code is apparently super important over here! Amelia has like six different outfits under the category of “school uniform” for various activities. For example, any time she goes on the grass at her school, she has to put on a “boiler suit,” which is like a mechanic’s coveralls. I think there needs to be a balance, personally!

  2. Cadi October 8, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Cadi October 8, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    So fun to read! Where else would I get such a perspective! I love the pictures of all the detail.

    What a fun day!

    • Ariana Mullins October 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      So glad you enjoyed the vicarious adventure, Cadi!

  4. Kristin October 8, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    I love this post! Beautiful pictures, and what a cool event to attend! I am impressed by all the fun things you find to do.

    • Ariana Mullins October 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

      Thanks Kristin. You know, there is just SO MUCH to do here, it can be a bit overwhelming. We need weekends at home now and then to catch up on housework and projects, but we always have this nagging feeling that we’re missing something good!

  5. Hazel October 8, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    I love these country shows. We always go to an Agricultural show near us- dogs, ferrets (racing!), farm animals- I’m in my element! Glad you had fun!

    And you definitely need to rescue a greyhound! We have had rescued lurchers and greyhounds for the last 20 years and they’re such lovely pets. We got the first one kind of by accident, and then when the Rescue Centre told us how hard they are to re-home, we’ve had them ever since.
    People think they’ll be aggressive and that they need lots of exercise, whereas ours live with cats, children and chickens and would rather have 20 minutes tearing around a field than walking for hours (though they’ll do that quite happily too!) There are so many greyhounds that need homes- tens of thousands are bred each year in other European countries (like Ireland), let alone the retired and ‘failed’ ones in this country.

    Okay, down off my soapbox now…

    • Ariana Mullins October 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Hi Hazel. I was one of those people that thought I’d have to be a serious runner in order to have a greyhound. It was really interesting talking to the people from the rescue, dispelling some of these myths. The dogs there were SO sweet and mild-mannered. We are very seriously considering it. Another great bit I learned is that since greyhounds are bred for being athletes, essentially, they have much fewer health problems than most other purebreds do– a huge plus for adopting families!

    • Hazel October 15, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      I am so not a serious runner!

      I don’t know of any ‘classic’ conditions with greyhounds, the way labradors, say, are known for hip problems.
      A lurcher is simply a cross between a greyhound (or similar ‘long dog’ like a whippet or saluki) and they usually have the same laid back temperament, though they could be livened up by whatever the other half of the X is!
      A lot of greyhound and lurcher rescue organisations foster dogs waiting for homes rather than keeping them in kennels, so they’ve often had practice at living with children and pets. And don’t forget you can change their names! Our newest lurcher was Ella, which is a popular name amongst our children’s friends and when put with our other dogs name (Stan) sounded like food poisoning, so she’s now Mabel!

  6. Ale October 8, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Fun!! Look like your daughter wanted to take snowy home!

    • Ariana Mullins October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      I wish we could! She asked the lady if she could take Snowy for a walk, so the lady let her hold the end of the rope, and basically walked both of them. But Amelia was thrilled.

  7. Tanya October 8, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    We went to our local country fair a few months ago and just loved it. Lots of dogs and horses to enjoy.

    • Ariana Mullins October 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Isn’t it fun? We love animals, so we’ll go anywhere there are a lot of them available for us to enjoy.

  8. Marisa October 9, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    “Outdoor sports and country pleasures” – I LOVE it!! What a perfect day – this type of event is my absolute favorite and one of the things I love about Europe – there seems to much more of this type of thing and as you’ve said they do it up proper with all the appropriate garb. And boy does Jeff pull of the British look well – he could fool anyone for being a native – the look really suits him. I think you should keep up with your archery. Seems like you loved it and had a knack for it. And I recently heard that American actress Geena Davis only picked up a bow and arrow for the first time 2 years before she took part in the Olympics trials. So maybe you could have some Olympic dreams in your future!!! 😉

    • Ariana Mullins October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      Yes, I think you would have really enjoyed it Marisa! I agree with you about Jeff, too– he fit right in! I didn’t know that about Geena Davis. I think I will actually look into joining an archery club– that would be super fun, once I figured out how to not mutilate my arm in the process. 🙂

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