Welcome to the 130th issue! …And an announcement
Who is that person standing next to the judge?
No show can succeed without stewards. They are an essential element in the effective and efficient running of classes, rings, and sometimes entire sections within a larger event. They are very knowledgeable, not just about the competing equines, but about the identity of their owners, the links between owners and the sector as a whole, ringcraft etiquette, and that vital component to a successful event – timing. Some stewards have years of experience behind them, and one of these is Rita Wells. Watching them at work at, say, the National Shire Horse Show, is an education. Sadly one we have had to go without this year, following show cancellations due to coronavirus. But Rita has put her thinking cap on and come up with an excellent list of the practical things stewards need to do and understand. If you are a new or budding steward, pay plenty of attention to it. There is no training for this job, and little has been written on the subject for the benefit of heavy horse competitors before.
New research into heavy horse heart health
A new study into the heart rates of heavy horses will help owners discover whether their horses are ‘show fit’ or ‘ride fit’. The research is being carried out by Katie Buncombe as part of her equine masters degree at Edinburgh University. “I have always had a love for horses, especially heavy horses,” she says. “After working with people in the heavy horse showing and breeding worlds it became apparent that there was a line between those deemed ‘show fit’ and those deemed ‘ride fit’, most obvious in the show ring.” She has the backing of the four main heavy horse breed societies, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the British Horse Society. Katie planned to be at the cancelled Shire Horse Show in March but has carried on collecting data from people who volunteered their horses. Find out more and if you can help at firstname.lastname@example.org
Swedish breeder who makes the most of the best
Christer and Michelle Paulsson have always been around horses, but his purchase of a Shire mare 25 years ago led to a deep interest in the breed, and Christer was hooked. His first imported stallion was followed by some 400 Shires and Clydesdales, including 40 approved stallions. Christer travels extensively in Britain searching for good Shires after studying matings in studbooks, and as well as breeding, he shows his Shires in the UK and worldwide. “Time, knowledge and hard work invested by men far greater then ourselves will always be our greatest inspiration,” says Christer. “Breeding these horses is a lifetime commitment for Michelle and myself; I hope we live to be 100 for we need time to truly achieve our aims.”
The call goes out for new Suffolk owners
Encouraging new owners of Suffolk horses is the greatest challenge facing the Suffolk Horse Society, says George Paul in a recent message to members. “The Suffolk horse will continue to survive and indeed thrive for as long as there are people prepared to buy, at a fair price, the young Suffolk horses that our members breed,” he says. The society has in recent years made considerable strides in promoting this iconic British breed, and only last month the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in its annual Watchlist confirmed that numbers of breeding females are up by around 5% on last year. Find out more about leading Suffolk enthusiasts and society activities and events, all working towards a great future for this iconic breed.
A glorious inheritance
Jane Muntz-Torres has inherited her late father’s collection of trophies, medals and paintings relating to the family’s historic connection to the breeding of Shire horses going back to the 1850s. Her great grandfather, Frederick Ernest Muntz, is the ancestor she has most interest in: he was president of the Shire Horse Society in 1910 and established the Umberslade Stud in Warwickshire towards the end of the 19th century. Enjoy reading about the family’s connections with the development of the Shire breed, their championships and prizes, paintings (this picture shows Aldeby Lady Jameson) and medals, and the historic harness room which still remains.
Entirely surrounded by water…
Helen Chester and her Legacy Clydesdales of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire survived the grim winter and multiple storms despite being inundated with water several times, mounting various rescue missions for her horses, suffering a written-off lorry and the loss of £10,000, and battling water levels 9ft higher than usual. Helen’s land was flooded for the first time overnight on 14/15 October 2019. “I arrived to find the stables under water and the horses up to their bellies and trapped inside,” she writes. Found out how she coped with such a devastating situation.
Promoting working horses in urban spaces
Operation Centaur, based in Richmond Park, London, works across the Historic Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks making working horses relevant in the urban environment and promoting their use – in the case of this project focusing on Shires. Head horseman Tom Nixon says: “As everyone who uses heavy horses knows, this is the ultimate low impact way to work land. Over the last few years there has been a rise in the number of councils and authorities in charge of parkland and common areas around the city approaching us to carry out work having witnessed the results of using the Shires instead of tractors and machinery”. Tom describes the work they do around the city, and how they are working with the Shire Horse Society to create an apprenticeship to help train those who are interested in learning and practicing the traditional skills of working horsemanship.
Cultivating with horses – step by step
In William Castle’s new series on practical jobs for working horses, this issue focuses on cultivating.
“Although it is essentially a very simple implement, the cultivator, especially the one with spring tines, is a most useful piece of kit,” William says. “Easy to adjust and needing little attention during work, so you can concentrate on driving the horses, I certainly wouldn’t like to be without one”. The article focuses on types of cultivator and how they work, a great guide to the implement for working horse owners.
Other features in this issue include. . .
- Coronavirus – and a look back at the foot-and-mouth outbreak
- Your photos – and photographers’ favourites!
- Clydesdale semen joins the RBST gene bank
- Top marks for Irish breeding at Clydesdale National Stallion Show
- Out on the road with heavy horses, what you really really need is a decent horse box
- Bob Powell’s archives reveals Scottish Lady Ploughers
- Rise of the carthorse and the Tatton Park Shires
- New chairman for Southern Counties Association
- British Horse Loggers’ plans to entice new members
- Researching William Pratt, farmer of Talaton, East Devo
Plus . . .
- Mailbox – your views and news – packed with heavy horse interest
- Heavy Horse World Shop – our comprehensive selection of books and DVDs on heavy horse subjects
- Heavy Horse World Breeders’ Directory & Classifieds – where to go for all your needs – horses, harness, vehicles, books etc
- Order an annual subscription to Heavy Horse World for friend or family – £32 (£34 Europe/£36 Rest of the World)!