Jamie Mason’s Grange Farm Lady Fiona took the 2006 Shire Horse of the Year Championship at Stafford in September. Judge Bob Gardner praised her “power, flat clean bone and well-placed limbs” and congratulated her owner on his presentation. Second and third were Paul & Walt Bedford’s Delma’s Double D and FWO Richardson & Sons’s Mawstone Winnie.



The Devon-based Willis family had a triumphant day at the Wessex In-hand and Harness Championships, held at the Wessex Heavy Horse Show near Shaftesbury in September. They won both, with Medstead Corylus Avelana taking the in-hand championship, handled by Michael Willis, and Medstead Royale the harness championship, handled by Brian Willis, judged by two prominent heavy horse men, Walt Bedford and Kevin Flynn. Earlier Corylus Avelana had taken the mare class at the Wessex Show, under judge John Williamson. To cap it all grandson Thomas Willis won the young handlers.



The Black Shires of Young & Co Brewery – which has sold its Wandsworth site and is moving to Bedford – carried out their last ever beer deliveries in the busy London borough in September. Heavy Horse World contributor Ian Harden was there to witness it. On the day the last beer was brewed at the Ram Brewery, its octogenarian chairman and stalwart supporter of Shire horses, John Young passed away. Heavy Horse World includes his obituary, and a tribute to his contribution to the Shire breed from former Shire Horse Society secretary Roy Bird MBE. Continuing the Young’s theme this issue, Margot Blackah records her wonderful experiences indulging her passion with heavy horses as a teenager, when she gained permission from John Young to tag along with the Shires on their delivery rounds and at parades and events.



Make the case for horse power – says Heavy Horse World contributor Edward Hart, who thinks there is a great opportunity to promote the use of horses in the current climate of concern about global warming and changes to the environment. Studies are needed to evaluate every aspect of horse keeping, he says, with heavy horse and working pony societies contributing to promote them to agricultural colleges and equine research departments. Former Rother Valley College lecturer Mike Bingham, who taught horsemanship and uses his own horses, says: “There will never be a better time to promote the horse’s role, and make the case for financial assistance where horses are used instead of tractors. We must convince the politicians that horses have a real role to play, yet the number of horses actually working seems ever-diminishing.



An unseasonal heat haze gathered over the British National Ploughing Championships held near Guildford in Surrey in October. Southern Counties Heavy Horse Association’s annual All-England Horse Ploughing Match the next weekend was not so lucky, with continuous heavy rain spoiling the day. Peter Brassett from Beamish, North of England Open Air Museum, won the British National championship, judged by many-times British National champion, Jim Elliott.



Fit heavy horses pressed on in wilting weather in the New Forest Heavy Horse Relay held on one of the hottest days of the year, with the Wessex Percherons victorious for the third year running. The team, led by John McDermott, collected the Chris Zeuner Memorial Trophy at the end of the three-day event, which includes a relay drive through the lanes and woods of the New Forest. Heavy horse cross-country driving goes from strength to strength with meetings in Hampshire, West Sussex and Devon this year. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



What would you do, if three days after the birth of your foal, you realised it had great difficulty in seeing what was happening around it? John Bryant follows the fortunes of a blind foal and the lengths to which her owners, their friends and a team of vets went to save her sight. Bryan and Donna Banham’s Bebe travelled from Norfolk to Liverpool with her mother, Acle Heather, for two eye operations.



The charge of the heavy brigade in Ruskington Fen was a wonderful sight greeting Heavy Horse World contributor Clarence Naylor when he visited Nigel Blakey’s farm in the Lincolnshire Fens. Nigel, who regularly shows his champion gelding, Styal Trooper, has between 50 and 60 Shires on the farm at any one time.



Deep in Dartmoor can be found two national ploughing champions under one roof – Ann and William Williams – who are regular supporters of ploughing matches across the country. William from Wales and Ann originally from East Sussex talk about their love for Shires, ploughing and matches, and describe their use of the horses on the Devon farm and exercise routine in the surrounding lanes. They also tell Susannah Commings about their involvement in the British team taking part in La Route du Poisson in France and their encouragement of new ploughman Malcolm Kerswell and his son.


Features in this issue include . . .
  • Ridden Clydesdales show their paces at Blair Castle
  • Donhead Hall’s six Suffolks at the Great Dorset Steam Fair
  • 130-year-old waggon maintains a family tradition in Suffolk
  • TV’s Poirot star, David Suchet and Sue Dale’s Dales pony, Queenie drawing narrowboat Gifford, celebrate The Boat Museum’s 30th birthday
  • Return of the Heavy Horse Musical Drive
  • The heavy mob in action at an autumn working at Cairneyhill, Fife
  • Shire Horse of the Year – full report
  • Foal Shows and Sales reports, from the Midlands, North West & Wales and Northern
  • Suffolk Spectacular at Easton Farm Park, Suffolk
  • German Shire Horse Show, judged by Terry Sandling and Bill Massey
  • Over 50 entries in West Wales Shire Horse Society Show ·Compare your horse with The Bomber, Shire Horse Show Champion 1949A carrier’s journal – Howard Yates continues his diary about his commercial horse-drawn carriage company



Plus . . .

  • On the road – John Bryant’s column from heavy horse shows around the country
  • Tomorrow’s Horsemen – Pip Breakwell and Stephen Smith
  • Heavy Horse Heroes – Willingham Herbert
  • Your Letters – three pages packed with heavy horse interest
  • Heavy Horse World Shop with our comprehensive selection of books, videos 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


And . . .
  • Heavy Horse World Calendar 2007 – buy yours for Christmas!
  • New books – My Life With Horses the story of Jack Juby MBE, Master of the Heavy Horse; and Implements for Farming with Horses & Mules, a modern ‘operator’s manual’ from USA author Sam Moore.