The 2007 National Shire Horse Show takes centre stage this issue, with a double page spread of pictures and a five-page analysis of this major two-day heavy horse event. Tony Bull of Arclid Shires, Church Minshull, Cheshire took the coveted King George V Champion Challenge Trophy for best stallion at the show. Home-bred bay Arclid Minshull Monty topped the four-year-old class and went on to take the top spot, 20 years after his owner last won the cup with the sire of Monty's dam, Hillmoor Prince Charles. Other winners were Graham Ward of Gorefield, Wisbech with female champion and top senior mare, Decoy Princess Dawn, and gelding champion Farholme Prince William, who won for the Bedford brothers from Deighton Stud, Yorkshire. Read all about the classes, discover fascinating stories unearthed by contributor John Bryant, and take the opportunity to buy the official 2007 National Shire Horse Show video.



Young's famous Black Shires live on, with head horsekeeper Kevin Flynn launching his own business from a Surrey farm with five of the horses and undertaking promotional events for his former employer. Following the sale of the brewery in Wandsworth and the merger of Young's and Charles Wells of Bedford, daily horse-drawn beer deliveries in the busy London borough ended. Kevin Flynn's redundancy package included the horses, harness and some of the Young's brewery vehicles. He set up on his own at the end of March near Dorking, Surrey. Kevin, regarded by many as the UK's top heavy horse driver, says the Young's contract will have priority but he is also hoping to undertake some new business with light horses.


Wadworths Brewery of Devizes, Wiltshire, is now the only remaining brewery regularly delivering beer by horse and dray and has just bought a new Shire to join the team. The Shires deliver every weekday morning to pubs in the Wiltshire market town, and participate in shows, carnivals and country fairs during the summer. As a reward for their hard work during the year the horses are put out to grass for two weeks in the summer and enjoy a self-catering holiday!



Shires and Clydesdales have both moved to a rarer category in the latest Rare Breeds Survival Trust's Watchlist, highlighting concern about their breeding rates. Clydesdales move to the 'vulnerable' category from their previous 'at risk' status, but the real surprise is the move of the more plentiful Shires up to 'at risk' from their former 'minority' category. Suffolks continue in the 'critical' category, as one of the rarest equines in the world. Both Shire and Clydesdale breed societies were sceptical about the figures, suggesting that their own breeding statistics did not support the move. Yet others in the heavy horse world have been warning of the problem for some years.


Liverpool's working horse statue is taking shape at last in the studios of sculptor Judy Boyt. The ambitious plan began 10 years ago with the determination of a group of former Liverpool carters to commemorate their working horse colleagues. The final funding is still awaited as the bronze monument is completed, ready for unveiling later this year on Liverpool Docks. Chairman of the Liverpool Working Horse Monument Committee, Joe Hartley, said: "It's a wonderful story, both about the Shire hroses who can take their fair share of credit for the prosperity of Liverpool as one of the world's greatest ports, and the resilience of the former carters themselves in their dedication to this monument. Had it not been for them the working horse history of Liverpool would have passed into oblivion."



The prestigious Cawdor Cup and male championship at the Clydesdale breed's National Stallion Show in Glasgow went to a newcomer. Old Greenlaw Lochy, a two-year-old colt, was bred and owned by The Honourable Mrs Henry Douglas-Home from Duns in Berwickshire, who has been breeding Clydesdales for only five years. The colt's dam is her foundation mare Shatton Bess, a Collessie Independent mare, and his sire, Collessie Whinhill President. It was brought out for Mrs Douglas-Home by Ronnie Black of the Collessie Stud, the horse having been with him for a few weeks prior to the event.


Twins Ben and Sarah Pinion - now both qualified farriers - are thought to be the only twin brother and sister farriers in the world. Working singly but sharing a traditional coke forge, they have their work cut out shoeing horses in a 200-mile radius around their home in Sutton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire. Among the heavies on their books is Shire breeder Graham Ward'.s horses at Gorefield, near Wisbech, including the champion female at this year's National Shire Horse Show. Both have won numerous best shod and farriery apprenticeship awards. The Pinion family own their own Shire, 18hh Hullocks Pool Lady Jane.



Features in this issue include . . .

  • King o' the Toms - Richard Beard explores a noted Shire breed line
  • Waggons on public display in enterprising new scheme - David Viner welcomes a co-operative plan to bring historic vehicles out of storage
  • A carrier's journal - Howard Yates completes his diary about his commercial horse-drawn carriage company
  • The horse-drawn world of Britain - Richard Moore-Colyer continues his series on the development of the draught horse in these islands
  • Suffolks down on the farm at Gressenhall - William Castle visits one of the country's rural life museums to see how they present the horse-drawn era to visitors
  • Moffreys in the East Midlands - Dennis Mills looks at one of the most unusual styles of horse-drawn vehicle, the hermaphrodite, in the last of a two-part feature
  • Ox yoke designs and comfort - Drew Conroy, a leading authority in the use of ox draught worldwide, looks at the development of the yoke and suggests some improvements




Plus . . .

  • Tomorrow's Horsemen - David Shardlow
  • Your Letters - three pages packed with heavy horse interest
  • Heavy Horse World Shop with our comprehensive selection of books, DVDs and videos on heavy horse subjects
  • Heavy Horse World Classifieds - where to go for all your needs - horses, harness, vehicles, books etc
  • Heavy Horse World Breeders Directory - locate the breeder of your choice



And . . .

  • Heavy Horse World Calendar 2008 - out soon!
  • New book! - Rachael the Railway Horse, a new children's book by heavy horse railway enthusiast and artist, Ian Cryer