Shires shine in BBC documentary

  • Shire horses have been back in the public spotlight for the second time in a week, featuring on two BBC programmes.

    The breed starred on Thursday’s episode of The Farmers’ Country Showdown, which followed farmers who are committed to preserving the breed.

    This followed on from Sunday’s episode of Countryfile, in which presenter Adam Henson visited Stallion AI Services to hear about the work the company and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust is doing to protect endangered horse breeds.

    There are just over 900 breeding female Shires left in Britain, meaning they are at risk.

    The Farmers’ Country Showdown followed Shire owners as they prepared for Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show.

    The Langley family was among those featured.

    Margaret Langley bought her first Shire 29 years ago and there are now 30 on the Kent farm.

    “It is a passion,” said Mrs Langley.

    Her daughter, Molly, has inherited her mother’s love of the breed.

    “They are so special,” said Molly. “They have a sort of presence about them.”

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    Nearby Oakley Farm, owned by Jackie Shearman and her husband, is also home to Shires.

    “Someone once told me horses are like a disease you never get rid of,” said Jackie.

    “I started riding when I was four, so I think it is quite true!”

    Victoria Clayton of the Shire Horse Society told H&H the programme was an “absolute delight to watch”.

    “It highlighted the backbone of our society — the breeders and enthusiasts who have a real passion for the Shire horse,” she said.

    “It was wonderful that the show included all the hard preparation work, before and during the show day.

    “The society is thrilled that the BBC decided to feature the Shire and chose a wonderful county show to feature.

    “We will look forward to welcoming some of those animals featured on the program to our national show (16-18 March).’”

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