For the first time in 59 years, a horse exhibited by a brewery has stood champion at the National Shire Horse Show.
Mojo, a four-year-old owned by the 180-year-old family firm Robinsons Brewery, beat 30 other contenders to claim the in-hand gelding title at the event (March 16-18).
The last time a brewery won at the national championships was in 1959 when Youngs & Co topped the line-up with Wandle Majestic.
The annual show takes place every March and was hosted this year at Staffordshire Showground. More than 250 Shire horses from across Europe took part in the event which celebrates the breed’s unique history and heritage.
“The win shows the effort and dedication of the current horsewomen at the brewery, Helen Preece and Lisa Trotter, who with the brewery are fantastic ambassadors for the Shire breed,” said Victoria Clayton, secretary of the Shire Horse Society.
Another Robinson’s Brewery-owned horse, eight-year-old Bobek, finished third in the single trade turnout class. Neither horse had competed at national level before.
“Our Shires are the heart and soul of Robinsons Brewery. We are so incredibly proud of Mojo, and the entire stables team, for this amazing achievement of winning national champion,” said the company’s brand development manager John Robinson.
Mojo joined the brewery last year, having been bought from York-based Shire and Clydesdale breeders Paul and Matthew Bedford.
“He has delighted and surprised us every day with his kind nature and abilities. Mojo will be four this month (March) so he is still not fully grown yet and is already a giant.
“To have the best Shire gelding in the country working for Robinsons is fantastic and we are very lucky to have him. Special thanks to Helen and Lisa for looking after them so well and making them the horses they are today,” John added.
The brewery has kept Shire horses for over 100 years, apart from an interlude during the First World War when all its horses were sold into war duties.
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Robinsons’ Shires would traditionally deliver their ales — which include brews such as Unicorn and Old Tom — to local inns and hostelries as well as helping to transport bottles and cases between Unicorn and Hempshaw Brook Breweries in the 1950s.
Today Bobek and Mojo are among the few remaining working Shires in the British brewing industry and are a treasured part of Stockport and the brewery’s heritage.
When they aren’t in the show ring, the horses can be found at Robinsons Visitors’ centre, as well as making guest appearances at trade shows, promotional events, anniversaries, pub openings, celebrations and country fairs.
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