Thwaites brewery shire horse retires after 15 years of deliveries

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Thwaites Brewery’s star dray horse has been retired after 15 years of service.

Classic, the 18-year-old shire, was retired after a ceremony at the Horse of the Year Show last month (7-11 October).

Thwaites has four horses and a new 3-year-old has joined the team to replace Classic. He has not yet been named.

The brewery first had horses in the early 1800s but in the 1920s they were made redundant. In 1960 they were re-introduced and have been in action ever since.

Head horseman for the brewery Charles Beardmore has been at Thwaites in Lancashire since 1969. Richard Green and Jonathan Jones work with Charles in the stables looking after the horses, preparing them for appearances and exercising them every morning.

Charles told H&H: “He’s a star — he’s everything you could want from a horse. He’s kind, gentle, strong, reliable and a real character — a proper showman. He’s a legend at Thwaites.”

The horses make deliveries round the streets of Blackburn as well as making regular public appearances at show and photoshoots.

This year they will be present for the switching on of the Christmas light in Burnley as well as pulling Santa Claus’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.

And the new recruit is already feeling at home. “He’s settling in fine,” said Charles. “It will take him a while to get into the routine, but you can never tell — all horses have their different quirks and personalities. We have to fully train him — get him used to a bit, a harness and then practice pulling a “sledge” before we move him onto vehicles.”