April is our resident 'milk horse'. She was rescued from the RSPCA as she was found abandoned.
At the time we were happy to offer April a home for life and provide the love, care and medical attention she required. April's role on the farm is to educate children on the work horses, which were not only heavy horses.
Horses similar to April would have delivered milk to homes on a daily basis with milk churns due to the lack of good refrigeration.
This was all to change around the 20th century when electric-powered milk floats began to take over the horse's role.
We purchased Buddy in 2014 as we sadly lost our Clydesdale, Bob.
Buddy worked amongst a team of Clydesdale's ploughing in Donegal, Ireland. He had previously competed in ploughing championships and won many competitions. He had been very well looked after but sadly his owner decided he had too many horses and had to cut back.
The Clydesdale was named after the Scottish region, a tall breed with usually grey or white markings and a superior walking action.
The Clydesdale was exported from Scotland in the late 1900s and later became known as the horse that built Australia. The breed is considered vulnerable on the UK Rare Breeds Survival Trust list.
Fran came to the farm park in 2008. She was bred by Robert Sampson and was later homed at a riding school in Wales.
As she grew older, she became too strong for her riders so they decided she required a new home. We headed up to Wales and bought her back to Dorset, after an eventful week of her charging around the grounds she began to settle in.
Despite being very well cared for her whole life, Fran does suffer from various medical conditions.
Percherons were originally bred for war but over time began to be used for pulling stage coaches and later for agriculture work and transporting goods.
Iona was purchased in 2012 from a local horseman - Robert Sampson of Harbridge Farm in Fordingbridge who specialises in breeding working Percheron's.
Due to losing one of our work horses to old age, we required another set of hooves to pull the carriage for visitors. Due to the massive shortage in heavy horse breeds, it can be very difficult finding a working horse.
Iona is a young star, not only has she competed in many shows both riding and driving, but she has featured on the BBC Two series, Wartime Farm and other heavy horse documentaries. She has also been part of filming for CBeebies series, Down on the Farm where she was filmed ploughing the fields.
Joey is a Gypsy Cobb and is used daily to pull one of the bow top wagons for the Romany display and also carried out pony rides.
Joey spent his early life owned and cherished by a local Romany family who travelled the countrywide in their wagon for several months of the year. He has always been used to young children hopping on and off his back.
Although not in the very beginning, these horses later became a big part of the Romany culture.
Born at the farm in June 2017, we are thrilled to have this young energetic Suffolk Punch filly amongst us!
Lilly Rose will be trained to become a work horse and spend her days working on the farm park.
This breed is only found in one colour, chestnut and does not have the feathers around its hooves like other heavy breeds.
As numbers are dwindling, we are so pleased to be able to add another Suffolk Punch to the list and hope we can not only educate our visitors on the history of this breed, but raise awareness of the huge decline in their numbers.
Orestes is a gelding born in 2008, bred by the Ardenne society.
He came to the farm park in 2017 as we were searching for an Ardennes, which proved nearly impossible due to the massive shortage.
The Ardenne is a French hardy breed, rather like a giant scaled up Shetland. Many soldiers that fought in the war were constricted of agriculture and were perfectly aware of the massive shortage of horses.
They were not slow to rectify this, upon their return they brought back the French horses to compensate for the huge losses which took place particularly the Ardenne and Percheron.
They are now regarded as two of the five major British breeds. Orestes is the best example of what medieval war horses looked like.
Viscount is a rescued Shire whose story begins when he was purchased as a stud horse with the intentions of breeding.
During this time, Viscount did not prove a successful stallion as he did not produce any foals. He was sent off for slaughter as his owner no longer wanted him.
Horses of this size hold a meat value and are rarely handed over for free. A local farmer came and told us his story and we were happy to offer him a home for life.
Since Viscount has been with us, he has in fact produced a foal - Poppy.
The Industrial Revolution saw the construction of a nationwide system of canals, which enabled heavy loads to be transported up and down the country. The Shire was the ideal horse to use towing the barges along the canals.