Heavy horses take centre stage at HOYS with return of musical drive

  • The jingling of harrow chains will be heard in the arena at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) once again as the heavy horse driving display returns after a seven-year break.

    The popular musical drive of the heavy horses was started in the early 50s by Colonel Sir Mike Ansell in Harringay to solve the problem of lengthy disruptions between classes in the past.

    The majestic heavy horses harrowed the arena instead of tractors at Wembley arena until 1999.

    Their last display in the Andrews Bowen International arena at the NEC in Birmingham was in 2008.

    This year at HOYS (5-9 October), teams of six pairs made up of Shires and Clydesdales will perform daily in the week and twice at the weekend.


    Under the command of HOYS official John Peacock, the musical drive will re-enact the complicated patterns as performed at Harringay and Wembley arenas.

    “I first started driving heavy horses for the musical drive in 1968. I drove for over 30 years, so it is very much part of me,” said Mr Peacock.

    “These large large but majestic animals would harrow every part of the arena, making intricate patterns in the surface to a military style drill music,” he added.

    “It was said that these impressive heavy breeds put the ‘Great’ in the term ‘Great Britain.’”


    The heavy horse is being celebrated on the Sunday of the show with both the Shire Horse of the Year and a new class, the British Ridden Heavy Horse championships, being held.

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    HOYS has introduced a new heavy horse ‘all-day’ package for Sunday 9 October with ticket prices ranging from £46-£90 per person.

    Visitors to HOYS can also look forward to watching Gilles Fortier, who is bringing his ‘Vulcanium – dreams of fire’ display over from France to appear at the show for the first time.

    © Studforlife-7

    The specially choreographed performance for HOYS combines dance, theatre and circus with fire, pyrotechnics and modern effects to “awaken emotions” in the audience.

    For tickets visit: www.hoys.co.uk

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