Latest Issue

Summer 2018

140 years for the Shire Horse Society

The 2018 National Shire Horse Show celebrated 140 years of the society which nurtures and promotes the UK’s numerically largest heavy horse breed.  There were innovations and challenges this year, including the introduction of new shoeing rules and incredibly wintry weather – but out of it all came wins for William Bedford’s Landcliffe Charlie as the National Stallion Champion and King George V Cup winner, and Martin Fountain’s Woodhouse Calendar Girl, last year’s Shire Horse of the Year, who triumphed as champion female.  Other successes included John Goodwin with his unicorn, and Robinson’s Brewery’s Acle Thomas, champion gelding, produced by Paul and Matthew Bedford.  Photographs: Kevin Wright.

Suffolk changes gear to hunt in Leicestershire

A Leicestershire stud owner has gone off on a tangent and bought a Suffolk stallion, transforming him in a short time into a great ridden horse who also hunts.  Bruce McKim of the Thorpeley Stud, near Market Harborough, bought Craikhow Hall Jensen from Andrew Thompson’s Gateridge Stud.  More used to the Irish Draughts and Cleveland Bays at his stud, Bruce had seen the horse before and when he became available there was no contest.  “There was something about him,” he says.  Bruce found him easy to train for riding, it wasn’t long before he was jumping, and he took him along to the Fernie Hunt at Illston.  “He was good as gold,” Bruce says.  Read the whole story, and other articles about Suffolk horse breeding challenges and triumphs.

Hot shod

This evocative photograph of farrier Fred Sampson demonstrating shoeing at the 2017 British Percheron Horse Society (BPHS) breed show won Linda Chapman a prize.  The society’s honorary treasurer and newsletter editor, Linda entered it into the annual Farmers Weekly photography competition and won the black and white section with it.  Watch out for more on the BPHS centenary in the next issue, following its celebrations on 2/3 June at the Weald & Downland Living Museum, West Sussex.

“Never underestimate the intelligence of animals”

Read the astonishing story of how a Shire mare was saved from what seemed a certain death – when her stablemate urged her to get up as their owners looked on in astonishment.  Beau and Beatrice hit the headlines earlier this year when the heroic Shire stallion played his own important part in saving the mother of his unborn foal.  Jane Lipington of the Lambrook Stud tells the tale which all lovers of horses will want to read.

Out of Edingale – Bickers Court Shires

Jane Muntz-Torres popped next door to talk to her neighbour in the first of two features this issue on heavy horse businesses.  Sheep farmer Denise Badger looks back to her father’s work as stud groom for Joss Holland – The Master of Edingale, and how her involvement with Shires was put on hold a couple of times before she launched herself into breeding, studying ‘form’ and bloodlines, and began producing horses which won at county shows and were exported across the world.  Photograph: Kevin Wright

Bill & Ben swop Devon for Cambridgeshire to produce specialist vegetables

Experienced market gardening horses, the Comtois pair Bill and Ben, are now working with Calixta Killander in Hildersham, Cambridgeshire with her Flourish Produce business.  After an incredible gift of the horses from Brian Cavendish and Lucy Honeychurch, Calixta’s training and experience in America has been invaluable now that she’s back in her homeland.  She and the horses are engaged in ecological farming practices to produce delicious ingredients in demand by local people and London customers.

Re-opening the Saddler’s Workshop at St Fagans

The Saddler’s Workshop at St Fagans National Museum of History, near Cardiff, has been re-opened after refurbishment, interpreting a craft once common in rural Wales.  Following closure for repairs, conservation and acquiring new items for display, the workshop has been interpreted as it was in 1930 in St Clears, Carmarthenshire.  Built in 1926 by Alfred ‘Fred’ James, the workshop had closed in 1982 before rescue by the museum.  Fred used the cockle shell emblem on the blinkers of the bridles he made, taken from the nearby cockle beds of Carmarthen Bay.  New items for the display were commissioned from modern harness makers, including Terry Davis pictured here.

Hurst Green Shires – a racing certainty!

Jax Gardner and Cheryl Daly run Hurst Green Shires – best known for their racing prowess at Lingfield Park, Surrey.  They tell how the business began on the Surrey/Kent border, after Jax had “so much fun” with her first Shire, Hector, expanding to become a riding & driving centre as well as following a menu of activities including show demonstrations, school visits, WWI/II re-enacting, arena events, a Shire horse gymkhana, all kinds of riding – and promoting the breed in the ‘Flying Feathers’ race at Lingfield Park Racecourse.  “We have plenty of plans – watch this space!” Jax says.

New lease of life for St Albans Museums’ vehicle collection

A group of seven horse-drawn vehicles, each with their own stories to be re-discovered, have emerged for a new life with new owners following some 30 years stored in a Hertfordshire barn.  The refurbishment of the museum, and urgent structural problems with the barn, meant a new direction for the wagons and implements.  Wagon specialist David Viner watched them being pulled, blinking, into the daylight and followed their new fortunes.

Other features in this issue include. . .

  • Royal visit and Moorcroft vase for Shire Horse Society’s 140th anniversary
  • Tony Bull horses Ken Dodd’s funeral
  • Celebrating the best shod Shire
  • Forty years of Heavy Horse Enthusiast
  • Scottish Oscar for Clydesdale breeder
  • Neck strap bridles – Bob Powell looks into this unusual item of harness
  • Flashback to the British Percheron’s 50th anniversary
  • New books, from USA, Australia, Scotland and Cambridgeshire
  • Ploughing matches and Spring working events
  • Shires at work in the City’s green spaces

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  • 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
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