Brewery needs public’s help to name new recruit

  • A Lancashire brewery is asking for public help to name a new Shire recruited to its dray team.

    Thwaites recently bought the two-year-old heavy horse to add to its current line-up of Wainwright, 13, Gunner, five, and three-year-old Ribble.

    The gelding arrived at the Thwaites Star Brewery town stables in Blackburn town centre last week but will soon move to the brewery’s new premises at Sykes Holt in the Ribble Valley.

    The newcomer was found in Shropshire after a search for a perfect match for Wainwright, who stands at 17.3hh. The larger Gunner and Ribble, who are a mighty 18.3hh, are currently driven as a pair after the retirement of Thwaites’ older Shire Bomber through ill health.

    Like his stablemates, the young recruit had to be black, with four white stockings, a white blaze and no white on his body. Thwaites hopes the horses will be driven as part of a team — visiting county shows, pub openings, fun days and charity events — once he is mature enough.

    “We have been looking for a new addition since the beginning of the year but it takes a while because we have some quite specific requirements — anyone who has seen our Shire horses will know they are black with four white feet and a white flash on their nose and believe it or not, that’s quite difficult to find,” said Thwaites head horseman Richard Green.

    “We looked at quite a few but this one really fitted the bill and we are looking forward to him settling in to the team. It’s a great time for him to join us too, as we are preparing to move to our fantastic new stables in Mellor Brook.”

    While the Shire team was once famous for delivering Thwaites beer to pubs, the horses now work predominantly as company mascots.

    The horses are fed on the spent grain produced through the brewing process and travel around 10,000 miles a year to meet the public.

    But with the help of the new addition, it is hoped Thwaites could be back winning in the show ring in the next few years.

    “We used to attend shows regularly and our tack room is filled with the rosettes that have been won over those years but in the last five years we haven’t entered any competitions,” Richard added.

    “But Gunner and Ribble are now a solid team, they look good and we want to show them off a bit more, so they will be at Westmorland Show this month — their first competition together.

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    “It’ll be great to have all four horses out there raising the profile of Thwaites – all we need now is a name, and we’re open to suggestions if anyone has a good one.”

    To follow the Shires’ progress or suggest a name for the new horse, visit Thwaites’ Facebook page.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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