Heavy horses are stars of the show

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

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 02 October, 2018, 13:51
Isobel Duncan leading a pair of Clydesdale heavy horses, with husband Benny at the rear of the plough. Picture by Bruce Jobson

The venue, at Ford and Etal, hosted its Looking Back showcase last weekend.

Among the star attractions were Clydesdale ploughing teams, including husband and wife Benny and Isobel Duncan, who brought pairing Jackson and 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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

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.”

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