Shire horses from bygone era will be on display at Shropshire Vintage Show

The final preparations are taking place ahead of the 32nd annual Shropshire Vintage Show next month and some of ‘vintage vehicles’ on display will include 10 ‘heavy’ horses.

One of the Shire Horses at the event will be the Duchess
One of the Shire Horses at the event will be the Duchess

Heavy horses are a type of horse, traditionally used in farming to pull ploughing and other equipment to help work the land, until they were replaced by tractors in the 1940s. The horses being brought on the Sunday of the show are all Shires and belong to a range of Shropshire owners and one from Wrexham.

Dave and Margaret Morris, from Astley, have been busy preparing the horse section for the Mid Shropshire Vintage Club, the organisation behind the Shropshire Family Vintage Show, which has been putting on the popular rally for 32 years and takes place on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July.

They will be bringing their own Shires, Princess, aged 11 and Duchess and five. There will be a good selection of exhibits ranging from ‘in hand’ with plaited manes and tails as if entering a competition, in working harness and decorated harness with brasses and one will be ridden. There will also be others pulling traditional farm implements and at least one foal.

“Shire Horses are known as ‘gentle giants,” said Margaret. “Princess is a towering 18.2 hands, which is big even for a Shire! You have to treat them well, but they are a very placid animal loving being fussed over, just always approach them from the side or front – never from behind.

“Most owners, including ourselves, breed them. The two mares we have now we have bred ourselves. Princess’s first foal was exported to Sweden and the new owners still write to us and let us know how he is getting on as a successful stallion.

“When my husband was a little boy, he went to a farm which bred Shire Horses and it made an impact and is something he has done most of his life since. We got our first horse 25 years ago. We are all looking forward to sharing our passion with the visitors at the show so come and talk to us.”

The show runs from 9.30am to 5pm on July 6 and from 9.30am to 4pm on July 7 at the Greenhous West Mid Showground. Each year, a special tractor is featured and in 2019 it will be the ‘International’.

Richard Haynes, Show Chairman, said: “The show is one of the most renowned events of its type in the country and has always attracted ‘vintage vehicle’ enthusiasts. But it is also a great day out for all the family, and we are introducing more year on year for all ages.

“We are hoping the sun shines on this weekend and we look forward to welcoming people to see all the 1000s of different vehicles on display, from motorbikes to military vehicles, from tractors to classic cars and of course, the Shire Horses!”

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