18hh Clydesdale with the sweetest of natures. Although a Scottish breed, Buddy came all the way from Donegal in Ireland. He is just 5 years old and had been used for ploughing on the farm, so given time and a lot of patience you may be taking a Wagon ride around the park pulled by Buddy !
Iona was purchased in 2012 as a working horse from Robert Sampson of Harbridge Farm in Fordingbridge. Iona now works pulling the wagon to give visitors a trip around the park as well as other work including harrowing the fields with horse drawn chain harrows. Iona is a young star as not only has she competed in many shows riding & driving but she has recently this year been filming a TV series called ‘Wartime Farm‘ which will be shown this autumn on itv. iona was filmed harrowing fields and taking the role of a working farm horse. (you can see videos of Iona on youtube). The Percheron originated in northern France, part of the former Perche Province from which the breed takes its name. Percherons are well muscled and are known for their intelligence and willingness to work. We are very happy to have such a hard working and lovely natured horse here with us.
Luke Shire gelding Born Mothers Day 2012 from Poppy (Shire) and Prince (Shire)
Luke has a very friendly nature and loves visitors. We are hoping that Luke will one day be pulling the Wagon here at the Centre.
Viscount is a Shire Stallion standing at 18hh. Shires are a tall breed with mares standing above 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm) and stallions standing above 17 hands (68 inches, 173 cm). In the 18th century the great English horse was valued during the reign of henry viii, when stallions measuring less than 15 hands could not be kept. The increasing role of gunpowder brought an end to the use of heavy horses in battle. In 1884 the organisations known as the British Shire horse society was created. The breed was exported from Britain to the United States in large numbers in the 19th and early 20th centuries but popularity fell with the advent of mechanization. Population numbers are still considered to be at critical levels. Viscount was rescued from slaughter as he was thought to be a useless stud horse. Whilst he’s been here, he has become the father to one of our Shires ‘Poppy’.
Adam is Shire standing at 16.2hh. He was born in 2001 here at the centre; his stud name is Eastworth Adam. Adam is another rescue horse because unfortunately his previous owners did not take care of him. After a lot of hard work, time and effort Adam is back to his full physical health. Unfortunately it wasn’t just his health that suffered; Adam lost respect for people and grew very frightened of anyone who approached him making his road to recovery more difficult. Adams interaction with people has improved a considerable amount over the years. During your day it is very likely to hear Adam kicking his stable door, this is because he is at the top of the pecking order and by doing this the other horses tend to imitate him.
Boxer is a black Shire gelding standing at 18hh. He was originally born here at the centre but was then sold at a young age to a local family who looked after him. Unfortunately Boxers field companion passed away and his owners thought it would be best if he returned to the centre where he would live amongst other horses. The Shire horse has an enormous capacity for pulling weight. The largest horse in record history was a shire named Mammoth born in 1848 standing at 21.2 hands (86 inches, 218 cm) high and his peak weight was estimated at 1,500 kilograms (3,300 lb).
Blossom is a Belgium Ardennes mare, she is 16hh high. She was named Blossom because when she was born she was roped into the world like a cow. She suffered from lack of oxygen at her birth which resulted in her being slightly behind. Blossom is also known as Blossom the bulldozer as she tends to be very single minded at times.
Blossom is slightly favoured here at the centre due to her size. Although she is a big built, her height is an advantage.
Fred is a Suffolk Punch cross breed. The Suffolk punch is an English breed and is the rarest breed of heavy horse (rarer than the giant panda!). The breed takes the first part of its name from the country of Suffolk in East Anglia and the name ‘Punch’ from its sold appearance and strength. This breed is always chestnut coloured and was bred not for war but for agriculture. Fred came to the heavy horse centre in 2007 from Larks Hill Royal Artillery, near Salisbury. He was being used in the parades however Fred became too tall and as the horses all need to be the same height in the parades he was no longer required. Fred has a feisty character being at the top of the pecking order along with Adam.
Nobby is a Shire gelding standing at 17.2hh. The Shire horse is a breed of draft horse, the breed has an enormous capacity for pulling weight and shires have held the world records for both largest and tallest horse. Throughout its history the breed has been popular for pulling brewery wagons that delivered ale to customers. This practice continues today (locally Ringwood Brewery) with the breed also being used for forestry, leisure and promotional pursuits. Nobby was born here at the centre with a deformed knee (hence his name) and was not able to stand. After a successful operation he is now in full working order!
Poppy was born here at the centre in 2008, father- Viscount and mother- Amy who sadly passed away last year. The poppy was the first to flower on the battle field after the war. This is why we named her Poppy because after the heavies that passed away due to neglection from the previous owners, she was the first heavy foal to be born at the Centre. The head of the Shire is long and lean, with large eyes set on a neck that is slightly arched and long in proportion to the body. There is not to be too much feathering on the legs, and the hair is fine and straight. The breed is known for its easy-going temperament.
Fran is a Percheron mare who arrived at the centre in 2008. Fran came from a riding school but became to hard to handle as it requires a lot of strength and control when riding/working a horse of her size. The Percheron originated in the Perche valley in northern France. They are usually grey or black and are known for their intelligence and willingness to work. They were bred for war but over time they began to be used for pulling stage coaches and later for agriculture and hauling heavy goods. In world war 1 the breed was used extensively by the British, in the 1930’s Percherons accounted for 70% of the draft horse population in the united states but their numbers declined substantially after world war ii.
Sultan was originally bred in France for the French meat market, at some stage he was purchased by horse dealers from England and was then sold to a private boarding school with a view to taking the children on rides around the grounds of the school. It was soon discovered that it had been a mistake as he was far too strong and powerful for them to handle. He then went to be trained for pulling wagons at Robert Samson’s and is now pulling the wagon on a regular basis here at the park. Today the breed is still used extensively for draft work and in France they are used for food. Purebred Percherons are used for forestry work and pulling carriages, as well as under saddle work, including competition in English riding disciplines such as show jumping.