Teen handler back at Balmoral just hours after being struck by cow

Michaela Dorman at the show.Pic Steven McAuley
Michaela Dorman at the show.Pic Steven McAuley

It may not have been the start to the Balmoral Show she hoped for but, despite having a run-in with a cow that saw her require hospital treatment, Michaela Dorman was back within hours and ready to help her father’s animals claim victory.

The 19-year-old was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital on Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the show began, having sustained bruising to her neck, back, arms and hand when a heifer was startled and charged towards the animal Michaela was handling on the cattle lawn.

Dominic Dorman

Dominic Dorman

A male spectator was also injured as, in a dramatic few seconds described by Michaela’s father Dominic, the other cow was “spooked” and broke free from its handler.

Balmoral organisers said there will be a review into the incident and explained that all procedures were being correctly followed and monitored by stewards at the time.

Dominic said he knew his daughter could handle their own prize-winning cow so he rushed to gain control of the loose heifer as a number of safety barriers came down.

While he admitted he was concerned when his daughter was taken away in an ambulance, the 51-year-old said he was not surprised to see Michaela back at the show later that night, ready to get stuck in and help out for the next two days.

“Michaela has been handling cattle since she was 10 and going to Balmoral since she was 12,” he told the News Letter. “This hasn’t put her off at all. She’s looking forward to Ballymena Show in a few weeks’ time.”

Michaela’s mum Theresa and her six siblings, who are based near Stewartstown in Co Tyrone, all took part in this year’s Balmoral Show – something Dominic said they have been preparing for since Christmas.

“When you work in agriculture these things happen and you accept that,” he said. “In the past 11 years this is only the second time I’ve seen it and there have been no serious injuries.”

Thousands of people enjoyed the sunshine during the three-day annual event, now in its second year at the Maze site.

While organisers had taken steps to address the severe traffic congestion for those getting to the show some motorists said they still had to endure long delays into the car parks and large queues into the show.

It has been suggested the show may be extended to a fourth day.