Heavy horses make the earth move
The giants of the horse world came out to strut their stuff in the Heavy Horse Spectacular at the Weald and DownlandOpenAirMuseum, at Singleton, near Chichester, West Sussex, England.
The event is one of the biggest of its kind in the south of England, and one of the few where visitors can see the powerful and majestic horses display their skills and versatility.
Weighing up to a ton and standing up to 19 hands high, these horses are prized for their good looks, gentle temperament and capacity for work.
Heavy horses have found a modern role in the leisure and public relations industries, environmentally sensitive forestry and on organic smallholdings.
Among the highlights at the Spectacular this year was one of the newest developments in the heavy horse scene – cross-country driving.
Intrepid drivers put on a special display of timed obstacle driving through a cones course. Another feature was the Museum’s own cattle transporter, built in 1911 by Horder & Sons, and drawn by one of the resident working Shire horses.
During the event, the Museum’s Shire horses showed their seasonal tasks. The team works throughout the year on the beautiful 50-acre Museum site in the South Downs.
Encouraging the growing interest in working horses, the Museum runs heavy horse experience courses, where students can find out about the management and care of heavy horses as well how to drive, harrow and plough.
One of the most popular elements of the event was the chance to get up close to the “heavies” as their owners prepared them in the horsebox area.
The event was rounded off with a grand parade.