Paul & Walt Bedford took the Shire Horse of the Year Championship with Acle Delma’s Double D in September at Peterborough. Indoors at the East of England Agricultural Society’s exec centre for the first time, the Radford Stables-sponsored final was the first win there for the brothers in three years. Two Acle horses took the first two places, with Acle Sabrina, owned and bred by Bryan Banham of Acle, Norfolk, coming in second. The next four were Richard Bedford’s Boothay Richard; FWO Richardson’s Mawstone Winnie; Nigel Blakey’s Walker House Elizabeth and Paul Bedford’s Penrhos Braveheart. At the same event, the first Heavy Horse Turnout of the Year Championship was won by David Mouland and his team of four Clydesdales from Fordingbridge, Hampshire. Other winners were David Curtis (singles); Elspeth Ross of Waldburg Shires (pairs) and Maggie Smith (agricultural).



With the launch of a new society for European heavy breeds in the UK this autumn, a Comtois has been judged overall champion at a British show. At the Working Horse Trust’s Eridge Heavy Horse Show in East Sussex Geoff Minnis’s Comtois Ottawa, shown by his partner Viv Daglish, triumphed under Graham Bournes, a respected Shire judge and breeder. The show introduced for the first time in this country a European breed class, following the interest experessed by a growing group of owners of breeds such as Ardennes, Comtois, Brabants and Bretons. The inaugural meeting of the new society was at Hardwick Court Farm, Chertsey, Surrey in October.



The first-ever Endurance Challenge for Suffolk Punch horses took place in the summer at Euston Park with seven Suffolks drawing vehicles around a four-mile course. Vets and Suffolk Horse Society panel judges checked the horses’ fitness and breathing rates following activity. The Suffolk Horse Society Challenge Cup for a pair went to Andy and Ness Morris from West Sussex, and the prize for the best single to Andy and Chris Thompson and daughter Laura from Northamptonshire. The challenge was the brainchild of Fred Barrelet, a partner in Newmarket equine veterinary practice, Rossdale & Partners. Full results of the challenge will be published in a future Heavy Horse World.



The British Heavy Horse Cross Country Driving Trials team challenged 15 others from all over Europe in the gruelling 2008 La Route du Poisson (The Fish Run) in September. Five pairs of Percherons, three pairs of Suffolks and a pair each of Shires, Comtois and Ardennes took part in the 24-hour relay race commemorating the transport of fresh fish from Boulogne to Paris. The British came ninth this year in this international sporting event which involves hundreds of people and draught horses from all over continent.



Features in this issue include . . .

  • Thimbleby & Shorland sale to move to Spring Show
  • Chief Steward changeover for the Shire Horse Society
  • Blackleg – a top Clydesdale with a mysterious end
  • Stories from Wags Aldred, stallion leader
  • Portrait of a horseman – Tom Cliff
  • Horsepower – American style

And . . .
  • Heavy Horse World Calendar 2009 – now available!
  • New books and DVDs for Christmas – eight new titles on offer
  • Heavy Horse World Video Sale – snap up the few videos remaining


The Midland Shire Foal Society celebrated 50 years with its golden jubilee show and sale in September and a 50th anniversary dinner dance at the home of its chairman, Jim Yates and his wife, Sue, of Farnah House Farm, Duffield, Derbyshire in August. This year’s show was a triumph for Martin Fountain’s Cotebrook Loch Maree who took the supreme championship, with Jim Yates’s Boyton Gold Bracelet in reserve. David Worthington’s Walton Buscot took the foal championship, with Paul Bedford’s Bodaphon Sophie reserve. At the sale 23 colt foals came under the auctioneer’s hammer, with six going unsold.1,750gns was the highest price paid, 375gns the lowest. Nine filly foals were for sale, averaging 1,780gns.



New heavy horse activity such as cross country driving and riding is actually encouraging people to learn traditional skills, such as ploughing, says a horseman who is skilled in all the disciplines. John McDermott says newcomers who start off riding and driving are increasingly showing interest in the more traditional activities – the opposite of what you might expect. Jane Wordsworth is a case in point: she began with an interest in driving, became involved with the heavy horse driving trials club and is now building on her ploughing skills. John McDermott points out that showing, especially turnout showing, can be expensive, and an introduction via cross country driving, riding or showing an implement is often the best for newcomers.





Agricultural lecturer Mike Bingham ends his series The Incredible Journey, designed for the new heavy horse owner. This issue he focuses on working a pair, emphasising the importance of training a pair together and ensuring starting, stopping and steering are all perfect. He talks about the processes of training, different driving and tie-back techniques, and safety, especially in harness equipment.



British Horse Loggers got together to demonstrate their skills before an invited professional forestry audience in Cornwall in the summer. Seeing is Believing was initiated by HRH The Prince of Wales, patron of British Horse Loggers (BHL). Designed to encourage more forest owners to use horses, delegates were provided with a briefing pack, detailing examples of recent contracts to illustrate contemporary horse logging. Meanwhile horse logger Simon Lenihan, who works Ardennes stallions on his woodland contracts, has imported a Finnish forwarder with a capacity of 5 tonnes, which has significantly improved his ability to win contracts. He spent the summer working on the Duchy of Cornwall estate.



Plus . . .

  • Your Letters – two pages packed with heavy horse interest
  • Big Shows Section – featuring shows from the summer season
  • Heavy Horse World Shop with our comprehensive selection of books and DVDs 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
  • Heavy Horse World Wheelwrights’ Directory – bigger than ever this issue