Hollesley: Heavy horses help celebrate county’s heritage
12:30 27 August 2014
Poor weather did little to dampen spirits as the home of the oldest stud farm breeding Suffolk’s famous heavy horse breed welcomed crowds of wet but enthusiastic visitors.
The Suffolk Punch Trust, in Hollesley, near Woodbridge, hosted an array of traditional demonstrations unique or well-known to Suffolk.
Organisers of the Something Suffolk event had been watching the weather forecast in anticipation of rain, and duly ensured that activities could take place mainly under cover.
Demonstrations showed off the versatility of Suffolk’s rare heavy horse breed, which not only continues to suit its historic role in agriculture, but has also adapted to fulfil more modern uses through training and time.
Stud manager Tracey Pettitt said: “Considering the weather, it all went very well. We had a really good turnout and the visitors were ever so kind to spend a considerable amount of time with us. We are grateful to them for making it a success.
“It was a very Suffolk-oriented day. The public could have a go at ‘Balance the Beam’, where they had to give the correct commands for a horse to balance a sleeper on another piece of wood. Staff were on hand to keep hold of the horse and anyone who succeeded went away with a rosette.
“Ridden demonstrations showed us the variation of the breed as we know it today – it doesn’t just stop at farming.
“Needless to say, tickets for the cart rides were sold out by mid-morning.”
As well as events in the main arena, visitors got the chance to enjoy traditional music, local food, donkey rides, arts and crafts, and talks from experts including the trust’s chairman and local vet Philip Ryder-Davies.
The Trust is open to visitors from Wednesdays to Mondays until September 8. It reopens for the autumn season from Fridays to Mondays between September 12 and November 2, before reopening to visitors in the spring.
Find out more at the Trust’s website, suffolkpunchtrust.org.