Summer 2014 Issue

Congratulations to Shire and Clydesdale winners!


The top horses for these iconic breeds were chosen at their respective national breed shows in the Spring, with Paul Bedford’s Metheringham Upton Hamlet taking the King George V Cup for the national Shire stallion championship and Charlotte Young’s Doura Master Eddie winning the Cawdor Cup and Prince of Wales Cup for the Clydesdales. Congratulations to them and all the class winners at Grantham and Stirling – read the full reports and see plenty of pictures in this issue.



Under saddle – our new series for ridden heavy horse enthusiasts

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Annie Rose of Cumbrian Heavy Horses continues our series. In this issue she reports from the National Shire Horse Show how impressed she was with the standard of the ridden classes. “No longer do we let our horses down by dragging them into the show ring unschooled from the field, with a quick brush and a hose! This was serious stuff!” She focuses on some of the mechanics of ridden heavies, and tackles the best way to buy a heavy horse, including the pitfalls. You can experience riding heavies at Annie’s award-winning equestrian business in the beautiful Lake District, where she has gathered pure-bred heavy horses for people to enjoy on a range of specialist treks and rides.

Horses help uncover ancient ice age ponds


Horse power has been harnessed to restore 40 ancient ‘pingos’ in Norfolk’s Thetford Forest. Mark Tasker of Wildwood is using his Suffolk Punch X Cob horses to open up the spring-fed ponds formed some 10,000 years ago. Mark, whose mentor is horseman, farmer and painter Joe Godderidge, used his own-built forwarder to haul the timber out of the woods, where the Forestry Commission is working to ensure the ponds come to life again. Mark and Joe work from Lyng Farm, an ecological smallholding in the heart of Norfolk.



New society for ridden heavy horse owners


A new society for ridden heavy horses has been launched to encourage this new use for British draught breeds and bring ridden classes into line with light horse disciplines. Wendy Toomer-Harlow says: “Riding is another use for the heavy horse alongside the established traditional uses. It’s also a way of championing these rare breeds, and maintaining the breed type and the heavy horses’ way of going.” Jane Kirk’s much-acclaimed ridden champion from the National Shire Horse Show, Gairloch Challenger, is pictured.

Spice and variety in the sun at Southern Counties working


A beautiful warm sunny day greeted visitors to Southern Counties Heavy Horse Association’s Spring Working in Hampshire. There were plenty of demonstrations and ring events, from an in-hand breeds display, young handlers’ class and a ridden competition to a cones contest for heavy horse trial drivers, a display of decorated harness, and horse logging.


Thinking about ‘Draught Geometry’


We get the best out of our horses – and it works best for them – when we get their harness right. Jenifer Morrissey who studies how harness works in the USA with top trainer Doc Hammill looks at common problems with harness adjustment. Illustrated with examples of good and poor harnessing, she says: “To make the most and best use of real horsepower in getting our work done, we need to maximize the transfer of power from the horse or horses to movement of the load, whether the load is a log, a plough, a wagon, or anything else.”


Fresh blood

Sum_14_Fresh_blood_350x290Three young people are featured in this issue – Charlotte Webb and Luke Beech who work together from Winchester are making their mark on the local and wider heavy horse scene with their commitment to heavies: Anna Bruce profiles them. And Ethel Worthington – already an accomplished ploughwoman - has found her dream job working for Green Estate, Sheffield, Sum_14_Fresh_blood_1_350x343where she gets involved in preparing the ground for wildflower meadows and logging among other tasks.







Stories of the Suffolk Punch


Jeffrey Hallett, chairman of the Suffolk Horse Society, reports on how a Heritage Lottery Fund project has helped record memories of the iconic draught breed for ever. With a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £9,800 they recorded the memories and stories of over 30 people. Archive copies will be lodged with museums in East Anglia and the recordings used for other articles in publications. A community event to launch the project took place earlier this year, opened by broadcaster Paul Heiney - a keen enthusiast of the breed - and including songs and tales from the Suffolk horse’s heyday in the region.

The Cock Horse


Brian O’Riordan has researched the use of the cock, or trace, horse to haul loads up steep hills. Illustrated with images showing cock horses in use across the country, he traces the relationship of the animals with inns, and records the cock horses in Wimbledon who were always called ‘Jack’.


Life on the Levels with a team of Suffolks

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Ivan Steel reports on how he and his family developed a horse-drawn rides business in Somerset, based on the that of his relation, the late Ian Victor Smith who ran his successful Country Ways tours in Oxfordshire. Ivan relates how he went about setting up the rides, how they provide passengers with the history of the village of Langport – the site of a Civil War battle – and he describes the horses and their training.




Other features in this issue include. . .

  • Harveys starts beer deliveries in Lewes
  • Waldburg Shires takes over Young’s promotion
  • Horse power in Surrey woodlands
  • Pit pony stables open at Beamish
  • European working horse group celebrates 10 years
  • Bespoke harness for an all-round horseman, by Doug Joiner
  • A horseshoe with a special purpose?
  • Dentistry and the heavy horse
  • Lest we (also) forget – the horses of the First World War, with photographs from Bob Powell’s archive
  • Native horses in crisis?

Plus . . .

  • Your Letters - your views and news - packed with heavy horse interest
  • From this side of the fence: our column on current issues
  • Heavy Horse World Shop – our comprehensive selection of books and DVDs on heavy horse subjects
  • The 2015 Heavy Horse World Calendar – now available
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