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In 1881, four gentlemen founded a Society, with the aim of improving the standard of Shire Horses in the Ashbourne area. Originally known as the Ashbourne Cart Horse Society, later that year, they held their first a Show on the Paddock, at Ashbourne.

This was so successful, it was determined by public meeting to put the show on a permanent basis and apart from a few years lost to War and Foot and Mouth, an annual Show has been held ever since.

In 1888, the title Ashbourne Shire Horse Society was adopted and Royal Patronage was granted in 1899 by King Edward 7th, who was President in 1901. Shrovetide Football although much older, did not become Royal till 1928!

Although there have been ups and downs over the years, the ambition of the founders has been fully justified. It has grown, changed and evolved, with Cattle introduced in 1925 and Sheep in 1957. Other sections have also been added, so that it has become the modern Ashbourne Show, now presented by the Ashbourne Shire Horse Society.

However, what has not changed is the aim and ambition to produce a Show for the encouragement of excellence in agriculture and animal husbandry and for the information education and entertainment of the local community and the visitors to the area each August.