Heavy Horses to Die Out Within a Decade Without Help

Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre are once again hosting the Looking Back event on 7th & 8th October, but this year they also have something to celebrate. The Heavy Horse Centre has just been awarded approval by The Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) as a Rare Breed Conservation Centre, which to their delight is the only dedicated Heavy Horse Centre in the country.

This award coincides with the launch from the RBST of their latest campaign to try and stop the demise of the Heavy Horses.

RBST is very concerned about the plight of the heavy horses and has launched a campaign to save our heavy horses, at their National Livestock Gene Bank conference.

It is hoped the campaign will help raise awareness of the plight of the UK’s heavy horses and also increase donations which will help to fund the collection of much-needed genetic material for the Gene Bank.

These gentle giants were once a familiar sight in every town and village in the country, as they managed the land by pulling drays and ploughing the fields.

The decline began during World War One, when thousands of heavy horses died whilst hauling heavy artillery into the trenches. Numbers steadily increased during the period in-between the World Wars, only to steeply drop after the introduction of tractors. As the UK embraced industrialisation with the mechanisation of transport, agriculture and industry, there was consequently no need to keep them.

RBST are raising awareness that if we wish to keep our heritage alive, we need to support the National Livestock Gene Bank. Without collecting genetic material from these unique breeds now, we risk losing each of them forever.

We are calling for the public and government to support this gene banking in order to preserve our heavy horses, as well as our other rare and native breeds. Tom Beeston, RBST CEO ‘These heavy horses were here for us when we needed them, now it’s our turn to act to save these iconic breeds’.

We are all absolutely delighted with this approval, and we will be working very closely with RBST to help preserve these magnificent animals.

The centre already runs a breeding programme for the Clydesdale Heavy Horse, and this year this has been extended into rare breed sheep and even rarer pigs.

As always we want people to come along and enjoy seeing these majestic beasts as well as learning about other Rare Breeds that will be on display. This will be our launch weekend for the centre and visitors may get a chance of seeing British Lop Eared Piglets, for which there are only 100-200 left. However, it will all depend on the expectant mum Louise together with Mother Nature.

Not only can visitors see animals, but also other old working skills, and different aspects of vintage machinery. They can even experience riding in our carriage, as this will be running all day.

Gates open on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10am, dogs are very welcome and we do have disabled access.