Suffolk Horse spectacular

HORSE-lovers were given the rare chance to see more than 50 traditional Suffolk Punches at work this weekend during a packed day of activities designed to help the threatened breed survive.

HORSE-lovers were given the rare chance to see more than 50 traditional Suffolk Punches at work this weekend during a packed day of activities designed to help the threatened breed survive.

The annual EADT-sponsored Suffolk Punch Spectacular took place throughout yesterday, attracting visitors from across the county who watched as the heavy horses were put through their paces.

With Kentwell Hall, near Long Melford, providing an impressive backdrop for events, the show provided something for everyone, with a gymkhana, falconry displays and refreshments all included.

“The spectacular always provides a full and stimulating day out,” said Judith Phillips, of Kentwell Hall, who owns six Suffolks, five of which she bred herself.


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“Anyone who has the slightest interest in saving the wonderful Suffolk Punch enjoys what the day has to offer.

“Seeing so many Suffolks together, once a not uncommon sight in these parts, is now such a rarity.

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“Visitors not only had a really stimulating day, but contributed to saving the breed as all the gate proceeds went to the Suffolk Horse Society.”

Around 30 craft and plant stalls, along with music from the Long Melford Silver Band, completed the line-up of attractions, while a large show ring gave visitors the chance to watch the Punches at work drawing carts.

The spectacular was organised by the Suffolk Horse Society, which celebrated its 125th anniversary last year and is continuing its fight to safeguard the breed as an important part of the county's living heritage.

The number of Punches declined rapidly following the mechanisation of agriculture in the 1930s, and although the gentle giants are slowly making a recovery, only 75 breeding females are now able to foal.

Less than 300 animals remain throughout the county, but the Suffolk Horse Society is determined to ensure the Punch – the oldest heavy horse breed in Great Britain – continues on the road to recovery.

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