It’s original function was to mark the end of the barley planting by local farmers, additionally the parade was also an opportunity to show off locally bred stallions as well as to hire farmhands
It is widely believed that the very first stallion parade was in 1871 only interrupted by both world wars but resumed again in 1961
It continues to run every April attracting competitors from far and wide and thousands of spectators arrive early to watch the stallions’ parade through the main streets of Cardigan. This 2pm parade follows the earlier judging held in Penralltddu field near the primary school
The classes feature Welsh ponies and cobs, Arabs, Shetlands and Sports Horses,Coloureds,Heavy horses, horse drawn carriages and the occasional donkey makes an appearance, as the horses are shown off around the streets they are followed by vintage cars and tractors but you will also spot old carriages and milk floats. This year also featured some beautiful horse drawn gypsy wagons
You can see a sample of the schedule here Barley Saturday Classes
Spectators on the do not pay to watch although the organisers will ask for donations as they themselves parade the streets with donation buckets; the monies raised are donated to local and national Welsh charities including ‘Riding For The Disabled’ and ‘Air Ambulance Wales’. There is usually a small charge if spectators enter the show field where the judging takes place
There is nothing else quite like Barley Saturday and we admit to being hugely biased being locals but it is so worth a visit
We would love to see your photographs of Barley Saturday from past and present , you can upload below with a description of the horse including their name, type and the year it was taken
Do you have aspirations to take part in Barley Saturday? This lovely letter was sent to us from Julie Taylor of Pembrokeshire, we thought it was moving and inspirational and we hope you do too
I dreamed of owning a Welsh cob stallion. This dream had been a constant in our lives for 12 years. We were put-off by many people who undoubtedly meant well, but didn’t know me well enough. We had bought a very nice foal from the fronarth stud and had decided on a stallion to cover her. That stallion was Brynithon Northern Wind owned by Mr and Mrs Rodway of the Cwmcerrig stud.
We went to see him at the stud with the intention of booking our mare in. Katy Rodway showed us round her stud and even let me ride Brynithon Northern Wind, or Lad as she calls him, I was thrilled! Katy showed us her other two entire’s. That was it. I fell in love with the three-year-old colt, Cwmcerrig Calzaghe.
Katy said he might be for sale, so we asked if we could watch him out at a show. Barley Saturday approached and we asked Katy to take Cwmcerrig Calzaghe, or Joe as he is called at home. The weather had been poor and katy and Peter weren’t sure whether to take him, but eventually agreed.
My partner, Peter and I had decided that we wanted to buy him and decided that the time to tell Peter and Katy for definite was at Barley Saturday. We turned-up on the day to watch. We watched him run into the ring with Peter, and our hearts felt as though they were in our mouths. Joe won his class. WOW. We went to find Katy and Peter after the class and told them we were definitely going to buy him. We had already agreed a price.
Joe was in the championship as he had won his class. We went back to the field to watch. I remember being quite calm. I didn’t think for one second that he would be able to beat the other winners of their classes. I was happy that he had won his own class.
Then, the most amazing thing happened. HE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP. He was to lead the parade!!!!
I remember feeling sick and thinking that there was no way that Katy and Peter would part with him after winning the Supreme championship. I watched him running up the high street with Peter. I was really pleased for them. They had bred him and he deserved the applause, but I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had gone back on the deal.
I will never forget that day for as long as I live.
We went to Cross Hands on the 27th May to bring him home. We absolutely adore him. It’s a learning curve! Our son, Sam decided that he wanted to show Joe in- hand and has taken on that task with gusto. We are complete novices as far as showing a Welsh cob stallion is concerned, but we are getting better with the help of Peter and Katy !
Joe has now been broken to ride and will be shown under saddle as well as in-hand. We are so proud that we own him and that we have realised a dream.
If you see us out at the shows, please don’t criticise our lack of expertise. We are learning and enjoying every minute of it.
Julie Taylor, Peter and Sam Clarke
What a great story and in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”