William, our favourite Shire horse, conquered everybody’s hearts on Saturday 31st July when he spent the day in Hunsbury Country Park meeting people and, assisted by his owner, Robert Clarke of Hartwell Shires, demonstrating the braiding of mane and tail as done for shows and competitions and also show-harnessing for cart pulling.

We thoroughly enjoyed the day and are pretty sure everyone else did as well. We would like to thank all those who came along to meet William and who donated generously to help us and Hartwell Shires. We were able to give Robert a handsome donation towards his expenses, as we are extremely grateful for his time and efforts.

At 19 hands tall, 8 year old William is one of the largest Shire horses in the country (and Shire horses are the largest breed of heavy horse) and is still not fully mature, as Shires generally live for around 20-25 years.

He towered over everyone (and the gazebos), but he is very placid and docile ~ a true gentle giant. He was unperturbed by the people, the children and the numerous dogs in the park, and was quite content to stroll around the compound that the Friends erected for him.

We have squeezed as many photos of the day as we can in to our website gallery. A big thank you to all the parents for their permission to put the photos of the children meeting, greeting and feeding William and apologies to anyone we’ve missed out. Also, a big thank you to local amateur photographer, Chris Stone, for the better looking pictures, like the one below (you will recall that Chris was responsible for the fantastic Vikings’ photos back in 2019).

William will be back in Hunsbury Country Park on Sunday 19th September for our Heritage Open Days contribution, so please do come along and enjoy seeing William working. We are organising a chain harrowing competition (West Northants Council permitting) between William and a team (or teams) from Unit 22, a specialist gym in Far Cotton, so Horse versus Humans. This should be a lot of fun, as well as getting our Wild Flower Meadow chain-harrowed to help spread the flower seeds.