In terms of time, the British Blue pedigree of bovines is fairly young. The breed emanates from Belgium, where they have their Belgian Blues. In farming circles, the Belgian livestock breeders are quite respected for their development of animal breeds.
Last year, I saw a British Blue for the first time. It had walked off with the major agricultural show’s first prizes in all classes for the type. It was a shiny midnight blue/black all over. It stood about six feet high and appeared to be about seven feet long. The muscles on the animal were notable in that they appeared to be doubled up. It was a truly magnificent, powerful lumbering specimen. During the explanation of the breeding background to his particular animal, I also learned that the British Blues varied in one major and important aspect, in the farmer’s view, to the ‘design’ that originated from Belgium. “Look at those legs,” I did as I was told. “Our [British] Blues have good legs at all four corners; those are a good straight solid, strong leg at the back end, the kind we like and one that supports the beast. They are not a Queen Anne Leg”.
Up to that point, I had ogled the bull’s body, admired its musculature, its four firm and straight legs at its four corners, but now, my mind raced to the picture conjured up by antique shapely, rounded and curved legs. How on earth could an animal of the proportions I had seen, firmly and steadily set its weight on anything like an antique furniture leg!
The farmer talked as if the beast was a family pet. His son, for example, used the bovine as a back rest in good weather, while sitting out in the fields studying up for his school exams. On the other hand, there had been lots of enquiries and the bull was going to be used for breeding both by natural methods and by artificial insemination. I reckoned junior’s study days curled up comfortably with his mate, were numbered.
This year at the show, the British Blues were to be seen in greater numbers, also, there were more colour finishes in evidence and a number of Blues that looked like a work in progress. To my surprise, and remembering my lesson in British bovine design tastes from last year, I saw there were a number of British Blues that without a doubt, sported at their back ends, Queen Anne style legs.