Heavy horses were once a familiar sight in every town and village in the country, as they managed the land by pulling drays and ploughing the fields.

The decline began during World War One, when thousands of heavy horses died whilst hauling heavy artillery into the trenches. Numbers steadily increased during the period in-between the World Wars, only to drop steeply after the introduction of tractors.

As the UK embraced industrialisation with the mechanisation of transport, agriculture and industry, there was consequently no need to keep them. Now numbers are falling at an alarming rate – for example, registered breeding Suffolk mares have fallen from 1,334 in 1947 to just 73 in 2017. To make sure these incredible breeds are safe from extinction, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) needs to collect from male heavy horses for the UK National Livestock Gene Bank.

“Without this work in a decade we could lose a breed forever,” says
Tom Beeston, RBST CEO. “‘These heavy horses were here for us when we needed them, now it’s our turn to act to save these iconic breeds. Please make a donation today and help save the UK’s heavy horses for the future.”

Tel: 02476 696551  |  Email: enquiries@rbst.org.uk


The Northcote Heavy Horse Centre is an animal welfare charity near Skegness in Lincolnshire, combining a visitor’s attraction and an equestrian rescue sanctuary providing welfare and a forever home to horses  and other  animals in need.

The Centre, a registered charity which is run entirely by volunteers, also hosts several major fundraising events throughout the year including popular Medieval Tournaments and Medieval Banquets.

The Centre is struggling for funds and financial support and volunteers are very worried about the future for the animals in their care.

They are urgently in need of materials such as concrete, hardcore, pavings slabs and timber. Much of the yard and stable blocks also urgently need work for the safety of volunteers and animals and anyone who feels they could help is asked to get in touch.

Call 07899 815960 or visit www.northcotehorses.com