Heavy horse enthusiasts will have a chance acquire some of the country’s finest Shire horse bloodlines as leading breeder and showman Keith Downs hangs up his boots.

Keith and his wife, Pam, (pictured above) are staging a dispersal sale of all 20 horses in their Milnerfield Stables at Skipton Auction Mart in North Yorkshire on 9 August.

Both Shire horses and coloured cobs will go under the hammer — including 20 mares and foals, yearling fillies and a three-year-old cob broken to ride and drive.

It will be the first sale of its kind staged at Skipton Auction Mart, with the livestock pens specifically adapted to house the horses, which will also be put through their paces from 11.30am, with the sale starting at 1pm.

Over the years the stable has produced many champions at local, regional and national shows. Among its top performers is Milnerfield Sir William, national champion at the Shire Horse Society 2010 spring show in Peterborough and reserve national champion the following year.

Some Milnerfield horses in the dispersal sell with foals at foot and have been served again, while others have been served this season.

Keith Downs, a well-known face on the local agricultural show circuit, said that he was handing over the reins after more than three “enjoyable and fulfilling” decades to concentrate on his core farming interests.

Dispersal sale catalogues are available from Skipton Auction Mart and can also be viewed online at www.ccmauctions.com.