The world’s largest gathering of Shire horses, which returns to Staffordshire for a second year, is attracting huge interest.
A record number of advance tickets for the show at Staffordshire County Showground on 17th to 19th March have so far been sold, according to the Shire Horse Society, which organises the event.
Around 300 pedigree Shire horses from across Europe are expected to take part, being put through their paces in hand, in harness and during ridden classes.
Open to the public, the event is a colourful day out for all the family and the chance to support the campaign to save this magnificent breed of horse, which only a few decades ago was in danger of dying out and is still regarded as ‘at risk’.
Secretary of the Shire Horse Society Victoria Clayton said: “Shire horses have played a huge role in the history of this country, and our show, which is the world’s largest gathering of Shires, is the perfect opportunity to see them in action.
“Last month we sold more than twice as many advance tickets to our annual show as we did during the same month the previous year. We’re delighted to see such interest in the event, which is our flagship event of the year and the ideal chance for us to put the gentle giants of the horse world into the spotlight.”
The show, which has been held at a limited number of venues in England over its long history, is believed to be one of the oldest, almost continuous, horse shows in the world, having been held for the first time at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, London, in 1880, when the charity was named the English Cart Horse Society.
It moved to Staffordshire County Showground in 2016, and returns there for three days of competition in March.
The event features stalls and children’s entertainment, as well as the all-important showing classes – the first qualifier of 2017 for the heavy horse classes of the prestigious Horse of the Year Show, which attracts the very best of the breed and is held in October at Birmingham’s NEC.
The Shire Horse Society campaigns to save the iconic Shire breed – a breed that was in danger of dying out just a few decades ago. Even now, fewer than 500 new foals are registered every year.
Tickets for the show are on sale via www.shire-horse.org.uk – discounted if bought in advance. Adult tickets on the gate are £12, or £10 online in advance, while tickets for children aged five to 13 years on the gate are £10, and £8 online in advance.
Children aged 14 years and over are charged at the adult price, while under fives enter free.
Gates open on Friday 17th March at 8.30am and at 7am on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March.
For more details and ticket information about the show, visit www.shire-horse.org.uk or follow @saveourshires on Twitter or at www.facebook.com/shirehorsesociety