Latest Issue

Spring 2018

Celebrating the centenary of the Percheron in Britain

The British Percheron Horse Society celebrates its centenary (1918-2018) this year, with a major two-day event at the Weald & Downland Living Museum near Chichester, West Sussex on 2/3 June.  The celebration will be part of the museum’s Living History Festival and coincides with special demonstrations using draught horses to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, in which Percherons played an important part.  The BPHS event will not be a show but a demonstration by members reflecting the part played by the Percheron in this country.  Special guests from France, home of the breed, will be attending. In the picture is Michael White with his Percheron mare Willingham Mary and her foal at Ashby Show last year.  Photograph: Kevin Wright.

Jam today – the Chivers family’s Percherons

…And to celebrate the centenary in the magazine, we are also featuring the history of the most famous and successful Percheron stud of all, including new research by William Castle.  The Chivers family, whose jams were sold across the world, was based at Histon near Cambridge.  Starting with five mares in 1918, by 1931 they had built the biggest Percheron stud in Britain, with 130 pure-breds and nearly 100 cross-bred Percherons, working at their farms.  It’s a fantastic story.

It’s Spring – it must be the Heavy Horse World FREE Events List!

Once again, HHW brings you the most comprehensive listing of shows, events and matches featuring heavy horses across Britain.  The list relies on show secretaries responding to our mailshot, and any who have not done so can add their event to an Events List Update in the Summer issue.  Many of you use the list to plan your season, enjoying the very best of heavies of all breeds at special events all over the country.  Here’s an image from the Clydesdale Winter Fair, the overall champion, Charlotte Young’s Doura Magic Touch.  Photograph: Amanda Stewart.

The 140th National Shire Horse Show

The world’s largest gathering of Shire horses returns to Staffordshire Showground on 16-18 March for the 140th National Shire Horse Show.  More than 250 pedigree Shires are expected at the event, which in addition to its usual range of fantastic classes, this year includes a ridden quadrille and special stable tours designed to give visitors an insight into what’s involved in preparing and showing a champion Shire horse.  Don’t miss it!  Photograph: Kevin Wright.

Having adventures with Clydesdales!

There are lots of ways of enjoying your favourite equines, and one of them is riding them across fantastic countryside.  Adventure Clydesdales runs their specialist horse trailing business from Dartmoor, Devon, where enthusiasts enjoy riding Clydesdales – miles away from their Scottish homeland – through some of the most beautiful landscapes the south of England has to offer.  Tim Ancrum and Aileen Ware describe the experiences they offer – and how they also get involved in heavy horse racing (!) and talk about some special things in the pipeline.  Photograph: Malcolm Snelgrove.

Grooms – we couldn’t be without them!

Grooms are the unsung heroes of the heavy horse showing scene.  Behind every successful heavy horse team, whether the horses are used for work, pleasure or showing, are the grooms.  In his special article for the Spring issue David Curtis (owner of last year’s Ridden Heavy Horse Champion at the Horse of the Year Show), he focuses on the special characteristics of the grooms who support show teams, with a bit of light-hearted banter along the way.  Discover his job description for grooms!  Photograph: Diana Zeuner.

New shoeing standards for Shire horses

The Shire Horse Society has produced a new set of shoeing standards following a review of its shoeing regulations.  The new rules will be in operation at the National Shire Horse Show in March and at all affiliated shows from 2018.  The standards come after increased criticism and concern about some shoeing practices in the showring.  They highlight the importance of a well-balanced foot and minimum acceptable shoeing practices for the welfare of Shire horses.  Great, helpful stuff.  This image is of the best shod champion at the Shire Horse Show 2017, by Carol Stevens.

Draught horses doing proper jobs

Comtois horses working in Dorset and Hampshire showed their versatility in two very contrasting scenarios recently.  They spent one day logging with Toby Hoad near his beautiful 40-acre woodland in the heart of the Purbeck Hills in Dorset, and a month later, were busy with a completely different job – delivering Christmas trees around the town of Fordingbridge, including several very large trees. Discover how they got on with our feature.

How horses kept the flour rolling mills going

We revisit draught horses at work in the 19th and 20th centuries in a very different industrial world from the usual ones we hear about – the rolling mills of companies like Rank Hovis McDougall, churning out flour for people’s daily bread.  Rob Shorland-Ball describes how his interest in railways, transport and mills kept bringing him up against heavy horses working away all over the country.  And he’s researched how they were used by the big mills which took the place of the rural mills beside country rivers.

Other features in this issue include. . .

  • Ridden classes continue to gather momentum
  • Insurance – are you really covered?
  • Obituaries – it’s been a winter of loss of some of our most distinguished heavy horse people
  • Heavy Horse Tails – discover the story of Jet
  • Geoff Robinson – Building the Metheringham Upton Stud
  • Finding the Friar – Roy Tidman’s journey of discovery
  • Equine first aid – top tips from the Blue Cross
  • New study planned on horse logging
  • Mysterious connections between Busby’s and Ransomes’ ploughs
  • Slow the Flow! Peter & Carole Coates latest unusual job with their working Shire
  • Scots Draughts Horse history sold at auction
  • David Mouland and his Canadian Belgians


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