Saturday, 30 August 2008

Meet Jim

We met Jim at the West Runton Animal Rescue and Shire Horse Centre Norfolk. Originally just the Shire Horse Centre, it has now been taken over over by Hillside Animal Rescue, of which more later. Anyway, back to Jim.

This here is Jim. Jim is a Clydesdale, a ton of muscle and bone and a heart of gold. Jim is just off (rather reluctantly) to show us how a heavy horse was used on the land. Early last century there were four and a half million heavy horses employed in just about every facet of daily life.

Note the ROPE reins. A farmer 'wouldn't pay a shilling when sixpence will do' so no leather reins for the likes of a farm horse. Wet rope can be hung up to dry, leather needs cleaning. Below, Jim is about to be chained to a spring tine cultivator which is used on light soils to prepare a seed bed. A boat horse would be similarly tacked out.
And there he goes at a far old clip with his driver using his voice primarily to control what Jim is doing.
I simply adore horses, always have and always will, so an afternoon spent with the likes of Jim and the other heavy horses at West Runton was just the ticket.

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