The magnificent heavy horse has faithfully served us for many generations, however sadly their numbers are now dwindling at an alarming rate the Suffolk Punch is now on the “critical” list, the Shire is at risk and the Clydesdale is vulnerable
The heavy horse was brought to the British Isles in 1066 and led our armies into battle carrying armoured knights, hauling artillery and tirelessly ploughed the land.
Before the development of the internal combustion engine the heavy horse was the only power on the land and drove the industrial revolution. Once upon a time everything was transported around the country by horses (even right down to the horse drawn barges that carried goods) the horses were vital to the livelihood of the country. (They were yesterday’s transit van!)
After the Second World War the increase use of machinery saw the decline of use on the farm and by the breweries due to the time and costs involved in looking after these great creatures not many breeders are willing to commit themselves to them. In the past few years the number of heavies has almost halved from 6000 to 3,500 today. Measures should be taken to ensure there magnificent creatures do not die out. We may well need horse-power again in the future.
The Dorset Heavy Horse Centre is now the last “full-time” Heavy Horse Centre left in the country and is the only Heavy Horse Rescue Centre.