Welcome to our virtual calendar for 2022, a chance to introduce one of our four or two legged friends, nominated by you, to celebrate the start of each new month in 2022.
January showcases Cotebrook Loch Anna, three times National Champion Shire, who is proudly wearing her purple poppies. She is pictured with Alistair King who, with his wife Janet, run Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, near Tarporley, in Cheshire.
In the first year of the First World War, the British countryside was emptied of shire horses and riding ponies, a heartbreaking prospect for farming families who saw their finest and most beloved horses requisitioned by the government. The War Office was given the urgent task of sourcing half a million horses to go into battle. They were essential to pull heavy guns, to transport weapons and supplies, to carry the wounded and dying to hospital and to mount cavalry charges. The families who lost them, and the grooms, infantrymen and cavalrymen who took charge of them and helped train them up, all tell their stories. It was a traumatic change. Transported to the ports, they were hoisted onto ships crossing the Channel before being initiated into the horrors of the front line either as beasts of burden or as cavalry horses. Some men formed close relationships with the horses, but they could do little to prevent the appallingly high death rate due to exhaustion, shelling and front-line charges.
It’s a different story for the Cotebrook family of shires. Set in 50 tranquil acres in the heart of the beautiful Cheshire countryside, Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre and Stud Farm offers everything for the perfect day out. Home of the internationally renowned Cotebrook Shire Horse Stud, the Kings have been breeding Champion Shires here for nearly 50 years and they form the centrepiece of the Centre with up to 30 horses at any time for you to meet. At Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre there is lots to see and do to make your visit interesting and enjoyable. You can learn all about the Shire horse, from its history carrying knights in armour to the important studwork today, ensuring the future of this magnificent breed. There is an opportunity to meet the horses up close and Alistair does regular talks with a personal introduction to his Shires. And Janet tells us they keep this photo of Anna and Alistair next to their two War Horse Memorial collection boxes which helps encourage donations!
For more information on Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, call 01829 760 506 or go to the website cotebrookshirehorses.co.uk