The owner of a legendary barge horse has paid tribute to his treasured companion.
15hh Welsh section D Taffy died on Tuesday (4 October) aged 20.
Taffy had been with the Brind family, who run Tiverton Canal Co, since 2002 when he was bought as a six-year-old.
Philip Brind told H&H about Taffy’s remarkable life.
“I think what made him special for a lot of people was that he was a bit of a media star,” said Mr Brind.
“He appeared on the BBC’s Inside Out and Escape To The Country. In 2012 he represented Devon, the Grand Western Canal and Tiverton Canal Co by appearing in the winning entry for the BBC Countryfile calendar competition in a photo by Sarah Williams.
“He also went on to complete the bicentenary celebrations of the Grand Western Canal by pulling an old coal barge into the Tiverton basin.”
Mr Brind explained how much Taffy enjoyed his work.
“He hated to see the boat going out without him — it pulled him apart,” he said.
“Taffy loved his work and was genuinely excited when he came back after the winter.
“He was lovely to be around and had a genuine affinity with people, as well as enjoying a Polo or two.
“It’s very clear he meant so much to so many people — I’m so proud of him.”
Taffy had started losing condition and died following a short age-related illness.
“The Vale Veterinary Group has been brilliant,” said Mr Brind, who runs Tiverton Canal Co alongside his wife Jacqueline, his daughter Becky Poxam and her husband Dave.
“One reason why people loved Taffy so much is because he represented one of the last horse-drawn barges in the UK and for many people he was the first heavy horse they had met.
“There are only three other horse-drawn barge companies left in England wand Wales.”
Tiverton Canal Company keeps two to three horses at a time, working in rotation.
“We are on the look-out for another experienced horse with four white socks, a Shire or similar,” added Mr Brind.