'It's like the hurling.. they'll give a dig where they can get away with it' - Horse Ploughing gets mucky at the Ploughing Championships
The Horse Ploughing competition began in earnest this morning on the third day of the National Ploughing Championships.
Horse and ploughman teams finished ploughing at two pm today after up to four hours of hard work.
Independent.ie spoke to judges Willy Donevan, Joe Flanagan and Tommy Masterson about what makes horse ploughing unique.
"It's an art form. Once upon a time, these horses would be working every day but now they might not work for the year between competitions. It's a great thing to see so many keeping the tradition alive".
Flanagan, from Galway, revealed that the competitors will "steal a bit here and there where they can get away with it". Speaking about competitors using their hands, he joked "it's a bit like the hurling that way... they'll give a dig where they can!", but clarified that the judges would take that into account for the final scores.
Speaking to the World Champion Ploughman Eamonn Tracey, he told Independent.ie that horse ploughers were "just as skilled as me here with the tractor". In advance of his departure to Denmark to defend his title, he explained that ploughing as a sport is not done for financial gain. "There's no cash prize.. it's just about the sport. It's like any sport, once you're in, you're in!"
The Ploughing Championships began on Tuesday in Ratheniska, Co. Laois. They are due to conclude today with final Championship results to be revealed at 6pm today.