Richard Bedford's Boothay RichardRichard Bedford’s six-year-old Boothay Richard, shown by his 19-year-old son, Robert, won the National Shire Horse Show stallion championship and King George V Cup at this year’s Spring Show at the East of England Showground, Peterborough. Held indoors in the new exec building for the first time the show attracted good entries and plenty of visitors. Alastair King of the Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, Cheshire, took the George Roberts Champion Points Memorial Perpetual Cup for the most successful breeder at the championships: his wins included taking reserve national champion with Cotebrook Ben Macdhui. Earlier in the year his son Matthew had taken the Clydesdale Stallion Show championship and Cawdor Cup with his MGK King of the Ring, beating fellow Englishman Martin Fountain with Woodhouse Lucky Strike. Both shows are reported fully in this issue.



The thriving French heavy horse breeds are compared favourably to the “declining” Shire by Dr Ken Young, the Midlands Shire owner and enthusiast, in a news release published days before the National Shire Horse Show. The number of Shires being bred in the UK has fallen to dangerous levels, says Dr Young, a member of the Shire Horse Society council. To maintain a healthy gene pool 300 female foals need to be added each year, but the number is currently below 200 annually. He contrasts the problem with the state-sponsored stud farms of France which support French heavy horse breeds, and points out that French breeds are becoming increasingly popular with heavy horse enthusiasts, notably for cross-country driving.



Liverpool Carters' Working Horse Monument

A final push to secure the remaining money needed for the £108,000 Liverpool Carters’ working horse monument has been launched in the city. A fund raising luncheon, attended by Ken Dodd OBE, was held to stimulate the final £40,000. Equestrian sculptor Judy Boyt’s magnificent life-sized fully-harnessed bronze statue celebrates the contribution made to the life of the city’s docks by the Shire breed. All it now needs is its slate plinth, inscribed with carters’ memories and anecdotes. Heavy Horse World readers are urged to put their hands in their pockets and donate some money to the appeal to help the few remaining Liverpool carters realise their dream.


The Incredible Journey by Agricultural Lecturer Mike Bingham

Agricultural lecturer Mike Bingham continues his series in Heavy Horse World, The Incredible Journey, designed for the new heavy horse owner. This issue he focuses on finding a suitable working horse, noting the pitfalls and suggesting what to look for to ensure you purchase the best possible animal. Future issues will cover finding the right equipment and the first proper jobs with a single horse and a pair.




Horse Drawn Implements Series

Horse-drawn implements are still out there, all over Britain, rusting in hedgerows and old barns, testament to an era when highly inventive engineers developed machines for every conceivable agricultural task.


Horse Drawn Implements Series



Wendy Toomer-Harlow talks to her father, Dennis, and his friend, George Ivatt, about their passion for bringing horse-drawn implements and vehicles back to life in the first part of this new series.




Features in this issue include . . .

  • Hidden’ West Country waggons find new homes

  • Insurance minefield for heavy horse owners at workings

  • Working societies come together for cart skills competition

  • Events 2008 Update

  • Tomorrow’s Horsemen – Robert Bedford and Emily Presgrave

  • One of a kind – a preview of Horse Progress Days 2008

  • High quality turnouts at 2008 London Parade

  • In search of the Vardy

And . . .
  • Heavy Horse World Calendar 2009 – available from July!

  • Heavy Horse World Video Sale – snap up the few videos remaining

  • National Shire Horse Show 2008 DVD – now available!

  • Heavy Horse World Calendar 2009 – available from July!

  • Heavy Horse World Video Sale – snap up the few videos remaining

  • National Shire Horse Show 2008 DVD – now available!


Coors Brewers Ltd announced the closure of its visitor centre in Burton-on-Trent and its long-standing Shire horse operation in March, two days after the Coors dray took the single horse turnout championship at the National Shire Horse Show, driven by head horseman, David Coffen. The centre will close on 30 June, but local people were infuriated at the decision and mounted a campaign to save it. A steering group is now considering whether it could be run independently and how funding could be raised. Coors finally bowed to pressure and agreed to help if a suitable commercial plan could be put in place. Meanwhile the horses are being cared for by the Blue Horse Equine Centre at Rollestone, near Burton-on Trent.



Horse Collar TrialsUniversity-backed field trials of the effectiveness of the horse collar took place in Shropshire with the aim of achieving a better understanding of the way the horse and collar work together. Working in collaboration with Andrew Barnett, senior research and development associate in new product development at the Centre of Engineering Excellence, University of Wolverhampton, Shropshire harness maker Terry Davis and a small team of dedicated working horsemen have tested the equipment using pressure-pad technology. Different types of collars commonly used were tested – English-style collars, breast collars, American collars and Scandinavian collars. A full analytical report will be produced by Mr Barnett and included in a future Heavy Horse World issue.



Horse Drawn Boats - Bywater Holiday CruisesHorse-drawn boats are now a rare sight in the UK – there are only five passenger operations in the country and Stephen Rees-Jones’s Bywater Holiday Cruises business is the only one offering holidays. Based at Church Stoke, Shropshire, on the beautiful Montgomery Canal, Buddy, the boat horse, pulls the cruising boat, Sian through the unspoilt countryside of the Welsh Marches. Passengers are offered a choice of holidays and can try their hand at working the horse if they wish. Further information


Hugh Ramsay ProfileHugh Ramsay is one of the foremost names in the world of Clydesdales, known internationally for his knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. His horses have won many championships over the years and they’re to be found scattered all over the world, as far afield as Australia, the USA and Canada, the Millisle name prized wherever it goes. A man with a keen eye for what makes a good Clydesdale, he’s also much in demand as a judge. Heavy Horse World profiles him in this issue, complete with photographs illustrating some of his greatest achievements.



Wolds Wagoners' Special Reserve - Horsemen of East YorkshireThe horsemen of East Yorkshire had a special role in the First World War as the Wolds Wagoners’ Special Reserve, established to ensure efficient transport for the British Army in a mainland conflict. Pole draught, remaining in this part of the country while it had fallen out of fashion elsewhere, was ideal for drawing heavy loads over rough country and the chosen method by the Army to supply the front in the Great War. Wagoners honed their driving skills in competitions at Fimber Fields near Sledmere House, Driffield, home of Sir Mark Sykes who was responsible for establishing the Reserve. Diana Zeuner reports on this special role and discovers the country’s smallest military museum.


Plus . . .
  • Your Letters – two pages packed with heavy horse interest

  • Big Shows Section – featuring shows from the early part of this year

  • 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