Just off the A30 at West Farm, you will find a herd of Blonde d’Aquitaine cattle. Their colour is unusual, varying from a beautiful golden-wheat hue to cream. They have a loveable nature, a docile temperament, easy calving attributes, and although they are not heavy boned and therefore have light frames, just one bull calf can weight up to one and a quarter tons. Every animal has its own name. If the mother is ‘Daisy’ for example, the female offspring are named after other flowers. If the father is ‘Rover’ the male offspring are named after cars. All individual names are preceded by the ‘brand’ name ‘Fovant’, thus you would have Fovant Daisy or Fovant Rover.
Why Blondes, which originally came from southwest France, at West Farm? By accident almost. Anne Harris mentions that, although being born into cattle farming, they never had, but had always wanted, a pedigree herd. Twelve years ago they had a tip that not too far away there were three cows and three heifers, all pedigree Blondes, for sale at a very reasonable price. An investment was made there and then. Now, with a pedigree herd of some hundred Blondes d’Aquitaines, West Farm can claim to be among the finest breeders in the country.
Fovant Blondes appear at a variety of Cattle Shows each year, including the three Royal Shows, Coventry, Edinburgh and Builth Wells – always with some success. ‘Tulip’ for instance was judged the Blonde female champion in all three Royal Shows this year. (2000?) In ’89 alone she won 14 cups, and has a total of 76 championships to her credit.
Things don’t always go to plan. At Gillingham, their very first show, a bull, while being unloaded, was frightened by a dog barking – and ran amok. It took three tranquillisers from a vet’s gun to stop him, and a further three days for the poor beast to get on his legs again. Last year (1989?), ‘Bertram’ being bored and lonely, chewed through his two halters and ran straight to the ring where his three sisters were being judged. He was caught straight away, and later on was led into the ring, after which he was judged male champion.
Customers for Fovant Blondes include the Royal Estate at Balmoral, the Duke of Buccleuch’s Estate, and in ’87 fifteen heifers were exported to Denmark. .
From an unsigned article in the December 1990 edition of Three Towers.
Adapted by J.O.H.