Gallery: Suffolk Punch is star of horse spectacular

THOUSANDS of people have turned out to see the “iconic” Suffolk horse at an event to support the rare breed.

The Suffolk Horse Spectacular and Country Fair, which was held yesterday at the Animal Health Trust at Lanwades Park, Kentford, near Newmarket, was a celebration of the Suffolk horse, also known as ‘the Suffolk Punch’.

There were 62 horses at the event, which is the Suffolk Horse Society’s main fundraising day. Most were Suffolk horses, but there were also about nine representatives of other breeds.

There were demonstrations and competitions throughout the day at two rings, including a Suffolk horse procession, obstacle driving with the horses and a parade of horse drawn vehicles and implements.

Other ring attractions included birds of prey and dog obedience displays, while there were around 40 trade stands at the site and an equine and rural art exhibition in Lanwades Hall.

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Martin Goymour, a trustee of the Suffolk Horse Society and director of Banham Zoo in Norfolk, where three of the Suffolk horses at the show came from, said the day had been “absolutely fantastic,” adding how several thousand people must have turned out.

He said it had been “an absolutely phenomenal success that somehow the Suffolk has touched the heart of people in this area”. “This is the heart of East Anglia and it’s a nice day and it’s not overly hot.

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“The Animal Health Trust grounds are fantastic. They have given us so much support, and I think everybody has turned out to support the Suffolk [horse] and the funds raised will go towards the support of the breed.”

The Suffolk horse breed is classed as category 1 [critical] by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Due to the dedication of breeders and thanks to the Suffolk Horse Society numbers have risen. Mr Goymour said in the 1950s/60s numbers were down to an all time low, but now there are about 480 pure bred Suffolk’s in the country. This year so far 40 foals have been born, though one died.

Mr Goymour described the breed as the “living icon of East Anglia”. “It’s definitely our living heritage as much as any stately home.”

He added: “And everyone in the Suffolk Horse Society and supporters of the Suffolk horse are there to see the living icon of East Anglia survive long-term.”

He said a lot of the Suffolk horses do work, for example in forestry. A show commentator said: “It’s not a bygone thing, it’s something that is still being done.”

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