We are delighted to announce that War Horse Memorial has agreed partnership working with Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, in Cheshire, home of the internationally renowned Cotebrook Shire Horse Stud.
The Shire breed was established in the mid-eighteenth century, although its origins are much older. Historians tell us that Shire horses were essential to the success of winning World War One. In 1914 the English countryside was emptied of shires, as the government requisitioned them to pull heavy guns, to transport weapons and supplies, to carry the wounded and dying to hospital and to mount cavalry charges.
The breed survived both world wars, and a decline in popularity in the 1950’s due to increased mechanisation but, thanks to Alistair and Janet King, who own Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, visitors are able to witness these wonderful animals first hand. Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre is the only Shire Horse stud farm in the UK open to the public. Alistair has been breeding prize winning Shires for around 50 years. Despite COVID-19 restrictions the Centre, which is set in 50 acres in the heart of the beautiful Cheshire countryside, is open at the moment which gives visitors the opportunity to meet their 20 fabulous horses.
At Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre visitors can learn all about the Shire horse, from its history carrying knights in armour to the important stud work today, ensuring the future of this magnificent breed.
There is an opportunity to meet the horses up close, they are all very friendly.
Alistair explains: “The Shire is a British breed of draught horse and is the largest breed of horse in the world. It is usually black, bay, or grey. The Shire has a great capacity for weight-pulling; it was used for farm work, to tow barges at a time when the canal system was the principal means of goods transport, and as a cart-horse for road transport. One traditional use was for pulling brewer’s drays for delivery of beer, and some are still used in this way; others are used for forestry, for riding (including side-saddle) and for commercial promotion.
“Our Mission is to promote and preserve the old English breed of Shire Horse and other native breeds, and to raise the public’s awareness of these wonderful animals. And, as well as our fabulous Shires horses we have Shetland ponies and a selection of British animals and birdlife both wild and domesticated, including rare breeds.”
At War Horse Memorial we are looking forward to working with Alistair and Janet and all the team to help promote better public awareness and understanding of these gentle giants.
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