Balmoral Show: Steering bull ‘the weight of a family car’

William Hare from Dundrod in Co Antrim with Knight Hawk
William Hare from Dundrod in Co Antrim with Knight Hawk

William Hare from Dundrod delicately steered “one of the largest animals” at the Balmoral Show on Wednesday as though it was a tame pony.

Named Knight Hawk, his bull weighs in at 1,350 kilos – “the weight of a decent size family car”.

He keeps his beloved animal under control “with good training and by keeping on his toes”.

William added: “We have been working with him since he was a baby calf, training him to walk in the halter.

“And he has been here before – this is his third outing here so he has quite a bit of experience.”

Preparations for the show started about October last year when his bull was selected and had his hair clipped.

“He would have been washed all winter and been taken care of especially for this show,” he said. “So it is not just what we do on the day.”

The morning of the show sees work begin at 5am, cleaning out the stalls and changing the bedding.

“Then he was given a bit of a wash and a blast with the hair dryer. He was left to enjoy his breakfast in peace for about an hour and then we started to put some products on to shine his hair and make it fluff up – to try and catch the judge’s attention.”

Unfortunately Knight Hawk was just beaten for the top place in his class this year, but he will have further opportunities in other shows this summer, William added.

As he spoke, there were cattle roaring in all directions – but what were they communicating?

“They are probably saying, we are all normal – what are you silly humans doing, something like that.

“They are maybe letting the others know that they are here and marking their territory by seeing who is the loudest.”