A ROYAL visitor is helping The Great Yorkshire Show celebrate its 160th anniversary this week as the event welcomes The Princess Royal today (Wednesday, July 11).

Princess Anne, a keen horsewoman and advocate of country life, has arrived at the Harrogate showground by helicopter this morning and will take in some of what the show has to offer.

She has visited the show a number of times before, most recently in 2014, and is being escorted around the grounds today by Show Director Charles Mills.

Speaking ahead of her visit, Mr Mills said: “We are honoured by Her Royal Highness’s visit and it is always wonderful to welcome a visitor with such a genuine interest in farming and the countryside.

"We will be able to show the Princess some of the best animals in the country as well as the very best of rural life, food and farming.”

The Northern Echo:

Princess Anne meets Whitby-based artist Emma Stothard, who created the show's heifer sculpture. Picture: Alexa Copeland

HRH viewed the judging of the Beef classes and met representatives from the three National Shows, British Simmental, British Charolais and Beef Shorthorn.

Afterwards she was taken to see the Craven Heifer sculpture on the President’s Lawn where she spoke to its creator, Whitby-based sculptor Emma Stothard.

Ms Stothard said that meeting Princess Anne was "brilliant" and "an honour and a privilege".

She added: "She was so lovely, she was a lot taller than I thought, she was really warm and elegant and made me feel relaxed."

It took two months for Ms Stothard to create the GYS Heifer which was comissioned to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Great Yorkshire Show this year.

Weighing more than half a tonne and standing at 6ft tall, the sculpture is created from galvanised steel and its dimensions are based on old pictures of the original Craven Heifer from the Bolton Estate in North Yorkshire estate.

Aside from the excitement generated by a Royal visit, the show is in full swing for a second day of celebrating the very best of food and farming from across the country.

Today will see plenty of activity in the judging rings, with the Interbreed Pig Supreme Championship, Sheep Shearing Championship - including the Champion Shearer of Yorkshire Award - and the BPA Pig of the Year Final, among others.

Opera singer Lizzie Jones is once again taking to the Main Ring with the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps and there will be cookery demonstrations, country pursuits displays and equestrian dynamo Lorenzo taking centre stage this afternoon to wow the crowds.

Many local farmers and breeders were also among the winners in the intensely competitive classes, which attract some of the UK's top livestock and other animals. 

Anna Pennell, from Todd Fall Farm near Heighington, near Darlington, scooped an armful of wins. She won the Ridden Dales Pony class, which qualifies her Dales pony for the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham NEC in October.

It was Anna’s first win at the Great Yorkshire Show with a pony she has bred herself and will now be taking part in the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham NEC in October.

The Northern Echo:

Anna Pennell with her winning Clun Forest sheep. Picture: Melissa Peakman

“It’s great to have won with a horse and a sheep in the same day – it’s the home show for Dales ponies,” she said.

Earlier in the day Anna also won reserve supreme interbreed champion with her rare breed Clun Forest sheep, after winning the short wool interbreed champion title.

She began keeping the rare breed sheep last September and discovered her winning sheep had a love of the limelight.

“She’s just a natural in the ring; she knows when she’s on display and loves it,” said Anna.

Blazing sun and scorching temperatures meant owners and handlers had extra work in keeping their animals cool. 

The Northern Echo:

Emma Collis prepares Dirk, a Canadian Belgium heavy horse, for the ring. Picture: Emily Flanagan

Emma Collis, from Hampshire, who used a step ladder, garden hose and bucket to wash Canadian Belgium heavy horses in preparation for the show ring, said it took approximately 90 minutes to prepare each of the six horses being shown. Luckily they enjoyed their bath.

"They love it. It's better than rain," she said.

Foxhounds took to the ring on Wednesday, during the second day of Hound Show Judging. Matthew Sewell, who exhibited dogs from the Hurworth Hunt with Philippa Atkinson said the dogs had bared well in the heat.

The Northern Echo:

“They don’t like the heat," he said.

"It doesn’t do them any harm as long as they have some water and shade. They’re like us; they would rather be sitting in the sun than doing any work.”