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Gallop along to second celebration of the heavy horse

The Fenton Clydesdale Show.
Anna Cockburn from the Tillside Stud at Milfield was a local competitor and here she is seen with Tillside Master Whitton who was second in the Gelding 3years and over class.

The Fenton Clydesdale Show. Anna Cockburn from the Tillside Stud at Milfield was a local competitor and here she is seen with Tillside Master Whitton who was second in the Gelding 3years and over class.

A Milfield event celebrating the history of the heavy horse is attracting visitors from the length and breadth of Britain to North and South America.

Following the success of the first event last year, the Festival of the Heavy Horse takes place at Milfield next month.

Last year, the festival was attended by an incredible 3,000 visitors, stretching catering services to breaking point. But organisers say improvements have been put in place to make sure this year’s event on May 4 will proceed without a hitch.

The event aims to celebrate rare heavy-horse breeds and give an insight into skills and practices used during the era of the working horse.

“We had some fantastic feedback from the public for last year’s event and we are using this as the basis for another great family day out,” said Viv Cockburn, of Milfield Heavy Horse Association.

Interest in the festival has been expressed from as far away as Brazil.

Viv said: “I was shocked to receive an email from Brazil asking for directions to the festival.

“They had seen the article in Heavy Horse World about last year’s event and, as they are visiting Scotland on holiday, they wanted to make a trip to see the festival.”

Plans are also in process for the feature writer of the Draft Horse Journal, which is based in Iowa, USA, to attend the 2015 event.

Clydesdales are the breed traditionally associated with Northumberland but the festival brings together heavy horses from all over the UK, including Shires, Suffolk Punch and Percheron.

While all were once a common sight in the countryside, Clydesdale, Percheron and Suffolk Punch are now registered with the Rare Breeds Society, with the latter being particularly rare.

The festival gives onlookers a chance to see them in action, pulling vintage machinery. There will also be a logging demonstration, carriage-driving and demonstrations from skilled crafts workers.

Festival organisers are working with the local Scouts, who are hosting a campsite.

Proceeds from this will be going towards Ford Campsite and Ford and Etal Beavers’ Young Leader Jamboree Japan 2015 Fund.

It is hoped that the festival will be the foundation for a long-term development of tourism to the village and surrounding area.

The festival opens at 9am on May 4. Tickets £5 adults, children £2.50.

For more information, go to www.heavyhorsefestival.co.uk

 

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