The Working Horse Trust
A registered charity dedicated to helping promote
and protect heavy working horse breeds.
The only charity of its kind in this country, the Trust is run almost entirely by volunteers (we have just one permanent member of staff) and is funded by its own efforts. Despite attempts by the heavy horse community to persuade Government to form National Studs for its rare breeds of equines, as they do on the continent, there is no official funding for the protection of the Shire, Suffolk or Clydesdale. It is left to the breed societies and private owners and breeders to try and halt the decline of the heavy breeds and stave off their eventual demise.
The Working Horse Trust’s main activity is to get out and about with our horses, to keep them in the public eye and to highlight the danger that they are in. Throughout the year we are busy most weekends at shows, workings and demonstrations – but we also work with the horses on our own farm and undertake contract work.
We currently have 18 horses – a mix of Shires, Suffolks and Ardennes- but are aiming to also include the Clydesdale and Percheron in our line-up. We are concentrating our breeding efforts on the Suffolk horse, as this is the most endangered breed, and we currently have six, including two young mares.
We would appreciate your help
As far as we possibly can we raise the funds we need from a mix of paid work and fundraising events, but without public support we would not be able to keep going. If you would like to, there are a number of ways you can help to support our work.
Annual membership is just £15 for adults, £10 for juniors and seniors and £35 for a family of two adults and two children. In return we offer a quarterly newsletter, a regular diary of events and invitations to our fundraising events. Although we are not open to the public on a regular basis, entry to our Open Days is free for Members and you may visit the farm at any time (by prior arrangement).
To help us afford the highest level of care for our horses, we run an annual Sponsorship Scheme for individual, favourite horses.
Heavy Horse Experience Days and Training Courses
We run both informal ‘Experience’ Days for those with little or no horse experience and more in-depth courses for those wishing to learn to work with heavies – possibly with a view to owning their own at some time in the future. An Experience Day or Training Courses can make an unusual present and we offer Gift Vouchers for both.
Caring for our horses, looking after the farm and carrying out our wide programme of events is a 365 day a year job. We all give as much time as we can but most of us have to work and have family and other commitments. The larger the team of volunteers the more we can achieve, so we are always pleased to welcome extra pairs of hands. Some equine experience is essential but enthusiasm, energy, and a willingness to muck-in (and muck our) are more what we seek!
Throughout the year we hold a variety of events to raise funds, and the more people that take part, the more we raise! The best way to keep in touch with what’s coming up is to become a member and receive your invitation. Details are also posted on our website.
Open Days at the Farm
We hold our Open Days at Easter, either the early or late May Bank Holiday and in the Autumn (usually late September). The days are a mix of talks and demonstrations and we aim to give you the opportunity to get close to our horses and perhaps try your hand at working with them. The days are friendly and informal and we have a superb tea room to keep you refreshed! Come along and bring friends and family.
The Eridge Heavy Horse Show
We stage this show, our biggest fundraising event of the year, on the last Sunday in July. Other horsemen are invited to join us to put on a superb display of heavy horses in-hand, in harness and in action. Stalls, refreshments and other attractions such as birds of prey, terrier racing and children’s funfair make it a great day out for all the family.