Thursday, 19 November 2015

Codicote Steam Fair

Last summer my family and I went to a local steam fair in Codicote, Hertfordshire. It was the typical kind of British fair, held in an open field with market stalls, fast food vendors and a petting zoo with farm animals. Being a steam fair it also included steam traction engines, as well as a collection of vintage cars. But what interested me the most were the horses.
At the furthest end of the field, away from the noisy steam engines, were four Shire horses. The two bay mares were hitched to carts, the black mare was pulling a sled, and her colt was being led by one of his owners.
 For a small donation people could have a ride on one of the carts, so my family and I jumped at the chance. It was quite a bumpy ride, and the carts, although in good working condition, only had bare wooden seats to sit on. Even so, it was good fun.
 The horses didn't seem at all fazed by the noisy crowds or the whistling steam engines, and even the colt took it all in his stride like a pro.
 It was wonderful to be able to get up close to these beautiful, gentle animals.
 Sadly, I've forgotten what most of their names were. In fact, the only reason I remember this mare's name at all is because she had the same name as me! So, of course, my family had to have a ride in the cart pulled by Beth the horse :)
 Beth was a typical Shire, with thick feathers on her hooves, a well muscled body and a large, Roman nose. You can see in the photos she had a neat blaze and 3 white stockings, whilst her near (left) hind leg was all black.
 The other bay mare (who's name I've forgotten, sorry!) was more of a sabino, with high stockings on all 4 legs and a wide blaze. It was quite some time ago, so I apologise if I'm remembering any of this wrong, but I don't think she was a Clydesdale or Clyde x.
 The black mare also had 4 white stockings and a belly spot, but her whites weren't as extensive as the other bay. Her colt was a lovely baby bay/black (even his owners weren't 100% sure what colour he'd shed out).
So, why am I writing about this over a year and half later? Well, I was going through the photos on my computer and the thought struck me that it would be nice to share them with people. What's more, whilst I don't personally do any model horse showing I know there are plenty of people out there that do. And photos like these can be wonderful as references for people making harness tack, or even as documentation at a show.
 I'm sorry that the photos aren't better quality, but if anyone is thinking of making a draught horse harness, or looking for inspiration for a draught horse setup for their next performance entry, you're more than welcome to use these pictures. And check out the driver in this photo! He stood up the whole way round the arena.

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