Heavy Horses from Working Horses Trust at High Beeches Gardens
On Sunday 12 August 2012, 11am - 5pm enjoy the unusual sight of heavy horses harrowing the wildflower meadow at High Beeches Garden, in the traditional way. The magnificent horses belong to the Working Horse Trust and visit every year.
Monty aged 18, and Dylan aged 15, are the horses that will be coming to High Beeches Gardens. They are half-brothers and each weighs about as much as a small car. Both are Ardennes and are roan, Monty is a red roan and Dylan is a strawberry roan. Monty and Dylan are the most experienced working pair that the Trust has and they have done everything from field work to cross-country driving. Monty is a former horse logging champion and Dylan won the 'Any other breed' class at the Kent County Show last year as well as the Best Working Horse at the Southern Eastern Shire Horse Association Annual Show for the second year running
Jo Ambrose of the Working Horses Trust says, "These are two magnificent horses, in their prime. They adore their work and they love being made a fuss of. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to meet the horses and to pat them."
The High Beeches wildflower meadow is the best example of a natural, acid hay meadow in Sussex and has not been ploughed or cultivated within living memory. In this sensitive environment heavy horses are ideal as they have a far less damaging impact on the ground and flora than heavy machinery.
The Ardennes is one of the most ancient draught breeds in the world and it is believed to be the founding stock for many working horse breeds. The Ardennes first arrived in the UK with the Roman legions and a second wave arrived with the Norman invaders in 1066. The
Ardennes is credited with being the source of many of the draught breeds developed in Europe. Today there are only about 40 Ardennes in the country and ten of these are at The Working Horse Trust. The Working Horse Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to preserving our heavy horse breeds.
Ardennes are extremely powerful and compact. Typically they weigh around 850 to 900 kg, even though they are comparatively short (the breed standard is around 15.3hands). The breed makes an excellent forestry horse and is widely used in Scandinavia, which is where the Trust's stallion Brunte, father to several youngsters, came from. Ardennes are a versatile breed, capable of anything from basic agricultural work such as the harrowing they will be doing at High Beeches to high speed cross-country driving.
The Working Horse Trust has 15 horses of various breeds on its farm at Eridge, near Tunbridge Wells. The main aim of the Trust is to promote all heavy horse breeds to secure their future. This work has never been more important as the Shire, Clydesdale and Suffolk are all endangered species and are on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust Watch list. The Suffolk, which is the rarest of all, is in serious danger with only about 300 animals registered with the Suffolk Horse Society.
The Working Horse Trust is volunteer-based and spends most of its time out and about with the horses combining jobs of work with open days - such as at High Beeches Gardens.
High Beeches is a beautiful, 27 acre woodland and water garden. For almost fifty years it has been in the care of the Boscawen/Bray gardening dynasty and it is this expert, continuous care which explains the remarkable quality and size of the many rare plants. English Heritage lists the garden as Outstanding Historically.
In August visitors to the garden can also enjoy the site of tall, blue Willow Gentians flowering throughout the woodland glades. High Beeches is the only site in the UK where these plants are naturalised.
Adult Ticket £6.00
Accompanied children under 14yrs free
|Notes||Open from 11 am. Children aged 14 and under admitted free.|
ContactMrs Sarah Bray
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VenueHigh Beeches Gardens
Handcross, HAYWARDS HEATH, West Sussex, RH17 6HQ
Map reference: TQ 277308 Lat: 51.06232 Long: -0.17818
Just off A23 ten miles north of Brighton, 1 mile east of Handcross on B2110
Parking : free
Nearest station : 5 miles (8.0 kms) from Crawley station