All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shire horse rescue after ice fall in Isle of Man

by BBC A 22-year-old shire horse has been rescued after it slipped and fell on an ice patch in the Isle of Man. The animal, called Lady, crashed to the floor at the island's Home of Rest for Old Horses in Braddan on Saturday. Fire crews were called for assistance after staff at the home failed to lift the 1,000 (tonne) weight. After two hours of using specialist slings, lifting equipment and man power they managed to get it back on its feet. The vet and staff at the home then rubbed its legs to bring back the circulation and it was able to walk back to its stable. A fire service spokesman said: "After a night's rest in her stable Lady is responding well and staff are hopeful that she will be none the worse for her ordeal."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shire horses used to clear bracken from Thurstaston Common

by Liam Murphy, Liverpool Daily Post SHIRE horses were used to clear bracken on a Wirral common as rangers returned to traditional methods of managing the heathland. The horses – pulling two “bracken bashers” – were working on two areas of Thurstaston Common, on land to the north of Thor’s Rock and between Thurstaston Hill and Telegraph Road. Wirral Council has previously controlled bracken using chemical treatment but, due to the need to find a less expensive and more environmentally friendly solution, decided this year to try out new means. Officials said horses offer the best solution to working on Thurstaston Common’s undulating, irregular terrain. Senior ranger Paul Greenslade said: “Bracken is a native woodland plant, but can form dense stands on heathland sites, such as Thurstaston, where it shades out heathland plants.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When shire horses ruled the landscape

3:00am Friday 5th August 2011 in Memories By Tom King Graham Collins with his two shire horses, Harry and Joe LOVE at first sight. How can anyone really know the meaning of those words until they encounter Harry and Joe? They tower above their stalls, soft-eyed giants with glistening coats and flicking tails, extraordinary compounds of power and gentleness. They are instantly loveable. Harry and Joe are shire horses, successors to a breed that has pulled, ploughed and moved mountains on behalf of England for hundreds of years. Shires were the predecessors to tractors and JCBs, equine machines bred to do the heavy, muddy work. Part of the natural affection people feel for shire horses must come from gratitude. There is, though, another reason why human hearts go out to Harry and Joe. Despite their massive size and strength, there is a surprising air of vulnerability about them. Right now, they need all the love they can get. Working horse numbers have inevitably declined. The shire horse’s cousin and neighbour, the Suffolk Punch, is actually a Category One Endangered Species. Only 400 are left in the world. They are rarer than giant pandas. The shire horse’s situation is less critical, but it is nevertheless officially “a breed under threat” and it needs to be tended. It was for this reason the Essex Shire Horse Association was set up 24 years ago. The association has fought to keep the historic breed intact, both in numbers and quality of bloodline. Now, though, it is the humans who find themselves looking into the twilight. “Shire horses’ welfare has been very dependent on a number of devoted individuals with the land and other resources to maintain them,” says Maureen Cheek, an ESHA committee member from Leigh. “Often they were farmers who were old enough to remember when heavy horses were still used on the land, and unfortunately age is taking its toll.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Here's a lovely image from the Book of Kells. One of my professors used to say that the Irish monks saved civilization during the Dark Ages with their scholarship and reverance for the classics. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Largest Horse Ever?

A different kind of “donner” was heard at the Springbrook Inn Bed and Breakfast the morning of July 28th, 2007. That was the day that Tina was being presented to the public in the small, quiet town of Niota, Tennessee. Officially named Jenson Diplomat Tina, she is still a teenager in horse years. Tina is only 3 years old and already weighs 1,600 pounds, but that weight is evident when she gallops by – the ground literally shakes, and her steps rumble like thunder.

Tina could grow into world's largest horse of all time.
“She measures … 20 hands tall,”., announced Les Moss, Athens, Tennessee veterinarian as he used a tape measure and level to get an accurate height at the workhorse’s withers. That’s 81 inches at the withers (an equestrian term for the top of the shoulder), and the current ‘unofficial’ Guinness Book World Record. "She still has at least two years of growth and could reach 21 hands. That's 7 feet, or 84 inches, measured at the withers,” Jim Williams, one of her owners, said. The current Guinness World Record holder for tallest living horse is a Belgian draft horse named Radar who lives in Texas. According to his Web site, he is 19 hands, 3 1/2 inches tall, or 79 1/2 inches…Both her parents were over 19 hands tall, according to Clark Jenson from Blair, Nebraska, Tina's original breeder and the owner of her father.

Tina’s Daddy
Tina is beginning to put on muscle and weight on her back as she grows, and according to Charlie Creams, supplements distributor from Oakridge, Tennessee, “to insure proper development we are currently giving her naturally chelated trace minerals."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Crazy Snowstorm in March

Here's a little picture of the crazy storm that took power out in many places throughout Leelanau county this week. Some folks are still waiting for power to be turned on. Thank goodness the animals are okay.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Three Shire horses will enjoy their retirement with The Horse Trust

29 November, 2007

Three large Shire horses are to enjoy well-earned retirement with The Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire.

Jim, at 19hh, is the biggest horse ever to come to The Trust’s Home of Rest for Horses. He, along with Tom and Tryfan have moved from Bodafon Farm Park in Llandudno, where they were a visitor attraction.

The Park’s owners, Bryan Cogger and Kay Parr, can no longer continue to manage the heavy horses, which are aged between 20 and 23.

Before moving to Bodafon Farm Park, Jim and Tom worked for many years for the Whitbread brewery as dray horses delivering the beer to local hostelries. Tryfan was a farm horse.

Kay Parry said: “The horses have been part of our lives for more than 10 years. They are precious to us and have been a delight to hundreds of people visiting the farm or seeing them at shows, weddings and parades.

“We are so grateful to The Horse Trust for continuing to keep them where they can continue to enjoy visitors and for providing the care and kindness for the horses in their later years.”

The Horse Trust is the oldest horse charity in the world. It is the largest provider of grant funding for equine welfare in the UK, committing annually to a programme of horse welfare, science and education.

The Horse Trust manages the Home of Rest for Horses where these three Shire horses have come. This sanctuary is funded solely by donations and legacies and provides lifetime care for more than 100 retired working horses, ponies and donkeys.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Majestic One.

by Blaze.

The Shire Horse is the tallest and heaviest breed of horse in the world. They are also the most easy-going of the big draught (sounds like draft; means to draw or pull) breeds. And this heavy horse has a very colorful history which launched them to the top of the horse world at one million strong, and then dropped them to the brink of extinction.

The Shire Horse has a very noble history.
Imagine back in time to the misty battle grounds resounding with the clashing of steel swords and body armor. Imagine the thundering hooves of great horses shaking the ground upon which knights fought for honor and glory. Because Shire Horses are so calm you might think that they would not be good war horses. But they were. In fact, they were famous for their battlefield heroics.

They came from the ‘Shires’ of England. They were the ‘Great War Horse’ of Medieval times. Their massive size and monstrous muscles made it easy to carry a heavily-armored knight and their own protective body shields weighing 400 lbs (180 kg). The Shire flourished in the 1500s.

Cities grew on the backs of the Shire. If the Shire was useful in war, this breed proved to be even more valuable in peace time. It was dur-ing the 18th century (1700s) that this horse ruled on the roads and in the fields. Shires moved the commerce (ships’ cargo boxes) to and from the docks and through the rough city streets. It was a time when people desperately needed massive horses with great strength to help build cities and help farmers feed the people in them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pictured: Duke, the 6ft 5in Shire horse that is Britain's tallest (but he's still scared of mice

by Andrew Levy

He's about as heavy as a family car - and costs almost as much to run. Duke the shire horse stands 19.3 hands, or around 6ft 5in at the shoulder.

Duke the shire horse stands 19.3 hands, or around 6ft 5in at the shoulder.

He lives in a stable which had to be custom-built to fit all four hooves, and his blankets have to be made to measure. And he munches through £80 of food a week.

The one-ton giant has already claimed the title of Britain's tallest horse.

At five years old he is still growing, however - and may one day take the world record from Radar, a Canadian shire who is around an inch taller.

"He's the biggest horse I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few horses over the years. He's an absolute giant."

The amount of food he eats is four times that of a normal horse, said Mrs Ross.

"He can really pack it away. In the summer he has two small feeds and then eats grass in the field.

"In winter, he has two large feeds and "ad-lib" hay - which generally means around one-and-a-half bales a day. If he didn't come in at night he'd eat all the grass in the field."

Despite his size, Duke gets on well with his more diminutive stablemates and has a particularly soft spot for a Shetland pony called Jasper.

The average height of a shire horse is 17.2 hands. The British record of 19.2 hands was held by a shire called Cracker until his death last year.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Shires Recreate Historic Event

History revisited as 20 Shire horses haul 16-ton Titanic anchor through Midlands just as their forebears did 99 years ago

By Daily Mail Reporter

A procession of Shire horses dragging a 16-ton replica of the Titanic anchor has recreated history 99 years after the event. The £50,000 anchor is an exact copy of the one used on the ill-fated ship in 1911 and was towed from Dudley to Netherton, yesterday. The original anchor was cast by Hingley’s of Netherton and was hauled to the old Dudley train station by shire horses in 1911.

A procession of 20 shire horses hauled a 16-ton replica Titanic anchor from Dudley to Netherton yesterday

The scene mirrored the original event, which took place in 1911.

From there it was transported to the Belfast shipbuilders, where it was attached to the doomed vessel, which sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 passengers.

Yesterday’s re-enactment followed the route in reverse and was filmed for a new five-part series for Channel 4 and National Geographic called We Built Titanic.

During the final leg of the two-mile journey the anchor began to slip from its platform and organisers took the decision to complete the journey using a tractor, out of concern for the safety of the horses.

The original anchor was cast by Hingley's of Netherton and was attached to the Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912

The series, due to air in September, will feature engineers trying to rebuild part of the ship in an effort to showcase British manufacturing expertise in the Edwardian era.

The cost of producing the anchor was £50,000 and it will placed on a temporary plinth before being installed in the Black Country Living Museum while a permanent base is located for it .

Councillor David Stanley, cabinet member for environment and culture, said: ‘This is wonderful news for Netherton and the borough as a whole.

‘We have so much to be proud of, with our industrial past and warm and welcoming Black Country communities who I hope will play a part on the day.

‘To be invited to take part in such a landmark project by Channel Four is just fantastic.’

The replica anchor cost £50,000 to build and will be installed in the Black Country Living Museum

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rare Twin Shire Foals

'Identical' filly shire foals could be a first

Karen Spinner

6 June, 2011


A “glowing” shire mare gave her owner a delightful — and incredibly rare — surprise by delivering twin filly foals last month.

Helen Harries, of Llandysul, Ceredigion, told H&H she “couldn’t believe it” when discovering the two foals, who look identical, in the field with their dam Penlan Ceri Rose.

“They were both standing and trying to suckle,” she said.

Mrs Harries said Ceri, who she describes as “a totally chilled-out mum”, had an easy pregnancy.

“We had no idea she was carrying twins as she’d been scanned in-foal to one,” she said. “We took her to 15 shows last year, something we wouldn’t have dreamed of doing had we known she was expecting twins. But she won two supremes and 12 championships, it was her best season ever — she was glowing!”

The foals, Penbryn Celtic Lucky Lass and Penbryn Celtic Lucky Lady, are by shire horse of the year Ddrydwy Ploughman. Mrs Harries says the whole family is doing well.

Breeding expert Dr Jonathan Pycock told H&H: “As far as I’m aware, there is nothing in veterinary literature about identical twin foals surviving to term, which would make these fillies a first. But, just because they look identical doesn’t mean that, genetically, they are. Despite that, all twins are rare, so it’s wonderful to hear about these two.”

H&H readers can see the happy family in action at Aberystwyth show on 11 June and then at the Royal Welsh in July.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (2 June, 2011)