Barley Saturday 2018

Written by Visit Pembrokeshire

Trot along to Barley Saturday

Line the streets to witness this legendary spectacle which dates back to the 19th century.

Barley Saturday 2018

  • Where: Cardigan
  • When: Saturday, April 28th  (or Saturday 27th April 2019)

The show has a new home at the secondary school on North Road with the Stallion Show starting at 12:30, with the parade through the High Street taking place at 2 pm.

A wave of excitement ripples through the crowd as the sound of clattering hooves approaches. People line the streets and jostle, lean and stretch to get the best view.

And then, there they are, in all their glory; a parade of prize-winning stallions, manes flowing, nostrils flaring as the crowd erupts into cheers and applause … Welcome to Barley Saturday.

The tradition of Barley Saturday is thought to date back to 1871. Held on the last weekend of April, in the market town of Cardigan, it makes a great day out for all the family.

It’s an event which attracts visitors and locals in their droves. You don’t need an in-depth knowledge of horses to be able to admire the magnificent animals and soak up the atmosphere of this unique spectacle.

In days gone by, Barley Saturday was a celebration among the farming community to mark the end of the crop sowing season. It also acted as a hiring fair of farm staff and gave stallion owners the opportunity to display their beautiful Welsh Cobs, advertising the stallions for stud.

For many people, the Welsh Cob is as synonymous with Wales as the leek and the daffodil. If you haven’t witnessed the sight of cobs trotting out in full flow, then you’re in for a treat. Almost as admirable as the equines are the owners who have to sprint just to keep up. Some of them could give Usain Bolt a run for his money!

And it’s not just cobs on show, there are horse and ponies of all shapes and sizes, from Shetlands to Shires.

Before the parade, a show is held on the secondary school fields (new this year), with a small entry fee, just outside the centre of town. Once the classes have been judged the winners move to the High Street for the presentations in front of the hall, and the parade is led by the overall show champion.

As well as the stallions there are also horse-drawn vehicles. They complete two loops of the town before the vintage machinery and classic cars show hits the road.

As the old tractors chug away, the exhilarated crowds disperse and the High Street returns to normal, but for those who have witnessed Barley Saturday the memories will live long.

  • Insider’s tip: With the sound of hooves and cheers still ringing in your ears, head to the Cardigan Pizza Tipi on the river for family-friendly live music, woodfired pizza and good times. What a way to end an amazing day.

If the Barley Saturday madness is making you yearn to feel the wind in the hair read more about horseriding in Pembrokeshire.

Missed the event in 2018? Don’t worry,  add the 27th April 2019 to your diary for the next Barley Saturday in Cardigan. 

Other suggestions

Things you might also be interested in