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Blists Hill Victorian Museum to host annual Heavy Horse Weekend

The sound of hooves will ring out the cobbled streets of a popular open-air museum to showcase the role of shire horses in the Victorian period.

Heavy Horse Weekend to take place next week
Heavy Horse Weekend to take place next week

Blists Hill Victorian Museum will hold its Heavy Horse Weekend on the weekend of May 14-15.

The museum's resident horses, George, Casey and Bernie, will be joined by several others who will demonstrate the work of a heavy horse during industrial times.

Blists Hill, which is one of 10 museums run by The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, is a member of The Shire Horse Society, having gained accreditation from the organisation last year.

The society aims to protect and conserve the breed, which is an important part of our national heritage.

Richard Aldred, the trust’s marketing manager, said: “Our resident shire horses are incredibly popular with visitors, so we can’t wait to welcome the additional heavy horses back to the town this May.

"They are magnificent, powerful and gentle animals that will enthral visitors young and old alike.

“We’re very proud to be member of The Shire Horse Society. Shire horses played a fascinating and vital part in the history of The Gorge and of the wider industrial revolution, from drawing large wagons and drays to pulling barges along the network of canals, and it’s only right that we celebrate this.”

Horses will also be on site alongside the vehicles and tools used for agriculture, including a horse logging demonstration in the woodlands.

One of the shire horses will also be turned out in a full show harness, complete with gleaming brasses, as would have been the tradition on high days and holidays in Victorian times.

People will also be able to learn about the art of plaiting a horse’s mane ready for showing, and how to harness a heavy horse, while a farrier will be demonstrating the skills needed to shoe a horse.

To book tickets for the Heavy Horse Weekend visit Trust’s website at www.ironbridge.org.uk

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