Showcase for gentle giants will recreate scenes from bygone era

A celebration of what heavy horses have been used for over their working life is being held in north Northumberland this weekend.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 1:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 2:00 pm
Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.
Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.

A celebration of what heavy horses have been used for over their working life is being held in north Northumberland this weekend.The Springtime with Heavies event at the Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre on Ford and Etal Estates will give visitors the chance to see animals working in the field on springtime activities, along with displays of animals being driven and ridden. The purpose of the event is to allow people the opportunity to talk to those who have been involved with these gentle giants all their lives, learn of their history and even take the opportunity to participate in activities.Visitors will also be able to witness the technicalities of harnessing and driving, along with learning the art of dressing the horses to show specification.The event will see the return of the In hand showing and riding classes after a two-year break.Event organiser Viv Cockburn said: “Sadly, the showing of heavy horses is tapering off to almost nonexistent in most small shows, this has resulted from the decline in their numbers and also rising costs for general upkeep and transportation.”With Hay Farm being the only Rare Breed Survival Trust Approved Centre in the country dedicated to Heavy Horses, the organisers felt it was important to reintroduce the show section for the public to enjoy.“It is extremely worrying as to how long we will have the Suffolk Punch breed if no action is taken immediately, and the Clydesdales are not that far behind,” said Viv.The organisers have concentrated on the riding element of the show, as thankfully the Clydesdale is starting to become a popular ridden horse so a fun equitation class has been introduced this year.Viv said: “This event is becoming quite popular with light horses, but with a little thought of building a more robust course, and taking into account size, the heavies will be just as fun to watch and visitors could be quite surprised just how nimble these guys can be.”There will also be a display of old working machinery.It takes place on Sunday, May 5. Gates open at 10am for an 11am startEntry is £5 for adults with children, dogs and parking free.TD12 [email protected]

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