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Celebrating farming from days gone by

Isobel Duncan leading a pair of Clydesdale heavy horses, with husband Benny at the rear of the plough. Picture by Bruce Jobson
Isobel Duncan leading a pair of Clydesdale heavy horses, with husband Benny at the rear of the plough. Picture by Bruce Jobson

A nostalgic event giving people the chance to experience farming heritage has been held at the Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.

The venue, at Ford and Etal Estates, hosted its annual Looking Back showcase last weekend, attracting exhibitors and visitors from both sides of the border.

The event included demonstrations of old working skills, tractors, farm machinery and rural-crafts, plus food stalls.

Among the star attractions were Clydesdale ploughing teams, including husband and wife Benny and Isobel Duncan, from Scotland.

The couple brought pairing five-year-old Jackson and 10-year-old Davey to the event.

Benny said: “It’s important to preserve the heritage of Clydesdale horses for future generations. Families have been able to come along and see working horses in field conditions and the event has proven to be a great success.”

The popularity of the breed with the public remains immense but horse numbers continue to decline as the older generation of horse-plough and farming enthusiasts are unable to maintain horse-care and participate in activities.

Hay Farm, which is run by Vivienne and Derek and daughter, Anna Cockburn, is the only Rare Breed Approved Conservation Centre in the country for heavy horses.

Vivienne said: “Maintaining country skills and rare-breed farm animals is important. Last year, there were only 180 Clydesdale foals registered in the UK. Hay Farm also has the only surviving black Clydesdale stallion in the country.”