A day out with Shire Horses


There's nothing quite like the majestic giant of a Shire horse. One of the best loved draught horses, these wonderful animals have served mankind well for years

About Shire Horses

Shire horses are tall, averaging 17 hands (that's over 6 and a half feet) plus. Known for their strength, they have been popluar for pulling brewery wagons to deliver ale to customers. Still today, Shires are often used in forestry and for leisure. The Shire Horse Society was founded in 1884, and its American equivalent a year later. Since the 1950s and 1960s, their popularity fell, as they were taken over by mechanical things such as tractors & lorries. But today their popularity is increasing, yet they are still at critical levels, according to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. You can find a list of Shire Horse associations outside the UK here

Days out with Shire Horses

If Shropshire is going to be difficult for you to get to, fear not - there are plenty of Shire Horse Centres about the UK. Visit the Shire Horse Society as well - they have a page on how you can help Shire Horses thrive, e.g. by giving a donation in memory of someone, or becoming a member

The National Shire Horse Centre opened in 2007 in partnership with Sacrewell Farm & Country Centre There are day to day activities carried out by the Shires, plus there are often special events, demonstrations - and at weekends the centre often runs dray rides for the public. The Shires can often be seen at weddings pulling a carriage. And Waldburg Shires have experience days - they are based at Sacrewell Farm - which give you the chance to find out more about these majestic horses, pamper a Shire Horse for the morning and then harness up & get a feel for what it must have been like to work the land in the afternoon.

Cheshire - the Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre has Shire horse experience days too - details vary according to the farm's needs and the weather - but you may well find yourself getting stuck into helping to prepare these giants for the show ring by plaiting manes and washing the feathers, mucking out, feeding your charges - it's all hands on! Do check out Major's blog

Give someone special a Shire Horse Experience

The Ostler Carriage Company have both Shire Horse Experience Days and the Shire Horse Country Pub Run - you can contact them here - they have 30 branches over the UK.