One of the last remaining breweries still using working Shire horses has welcomed a new youngster to its team.
Wiltshire-based Wadworth Brewery recently bought three-year-old Archie who is being trained up to deliver ales with Wadworth veteran Shires Max, 12, and Monty, 11.
The family-owned brewery once used more than 40 Shires to deliver its ales and the sight of the Wadworth Shires remains a familiar scene in Devizes.
“Archie is currently being schooled and broken in,” said Wadworth’s head horseman Martin Whittle.
“His training will be a lengthy process — but one that is necessary to ensure he is fully prepared for work. Archie must get used to everything from wearing a harness, to pulling the dray, and also working alongside his colleagues Max and Monty.”
Staff at the brewery hope the 18.1hh youngster will be ready to work by next year.
The Shires’ typical working day starts at 6am when they are mucked out and groomed, before being harnessed up for 9am.
“The work drays are loaded up at the brewery warehouse before the Shires set off into Devizes to make their morning deliveries,” said Martin.
“After lunch the stables are opened up to the public where they have the opportunity to meet the horses. They absolutely love all the fuss and attention.’”
The Wadworth Shires also attend promotional visits to pubs in the Wadworth estate, as well as taking part in heavy horse shows and other public events throughout the summer.
Archie will join Max and Monty on their annual two-week summer break near The Raven pub in Poulshot, near Devizes, from 7 August.
Each year hundreds of people gather to watch the horses enjoy a pint of beer before they are led through the village and released into the field to enjoy a canter.
“The shires are a big part of Wadworth’s history and are the heart of our business,’’ added Wadworth sales and marketing director Paul Sullivan.
’We are determined to continue the brewery tradition of working with these wonderful animals and Archie is the latest in an illustrious line.”
For more information visit: www.wadworth.co.uk