Photo courtesy of Tracy Muir Photography
Organisers of the world’s largest gathering of Shire horses have confirmed that the show will return to Staffordshire Showground next year after making a successful debut in the county earlier this year.
2016 was the first time that the Shire Horse Society had staged its national show in the West Midlands, but now the charity, which is dedicated to the protection, promotion and improvement of the Shire horse, has announced the dates for next year’s show.
It will take place from 17th to 19th March 2017.
The show, which has been held at a limited number of venues in England over its long history, is believed to be one of the oldest, almost continuous, horse shows in the world, having been held for the first time at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, London, in 1880, when the charity was named the English Cart Horse Society.
It attracts around 200 pedigree Shire horses, which are put through their paces in hand, in harness and ridden, and is widely regarded as the largest gathering of Shires anywhere in the world. The show attracts horses from across Europe and spectators from around the globe, and is the flagship event for the Shire Horse Society. 
Show chairman John Peacock said: “We had some great feedback from both spectators and entrants at the 2016 Shire Horse Society National Show, which was held at Bingley Hall, Staffordshire Showground, for the first time, and we’re delighted to be able to announce the dates for next year’s event so that people can plan ahead.
“Tickets are due to go on sale in early November and will be available via our website.”
The 2016 show attracted some excellent examples of the breed. The winner of the King George V trophy, taking the highest honour in the society, went to the Champion stallion Leverton Leon. Leon is owned by Jonathan Worthington, from Nether Alderley, near Macclesfield, in Cheshire. The female Champion went to Cotebrook Loch Anna, owned by Alistair and Matthew King, based at Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, Cheshire. Both of these horses qualified for the prestigious Horse of the Year show in taking their respective championships. 
Ridden champion was Stacy Fletcher, on Catwg Black Velvet owned by her family’s Gentle Giant Shires business, based at Moylegrove near Cardigan. She also won a golden ticket qualifier to the famous Horse of the Year Show to take part in the first ever British Ridden Heavy Horse championship being staged by HOYS. Other Shire horse owners are currently taking part in a range of competitions at agricultural shows and other events across the country in the hope of qualifying for the prestigious Horse of the Year Show. 
The iconic Shire breed was in danger of dying out just a few decades ago, and even now fewer than 500 new foals are registered every year by the Shire Horse Society. The charity has been running a Save Our Shires campaign to raise awareness about these gentle giants and numbers have steadily increased, thanks to the dedication of a band of enthusiasts.
Tickets for the 2017 show will soon be available from the society’s website Adult tickets on the gate are £12, or £10 online in advance, while tickets for children aged five to 13 years on the gate are £10, and £8 online in advance.
Children aged 14 years and over are charged at the adult price, while under fives enter free.
The Shire Horse Society is also offering early bird prices to traders who would like to take stands at the event. Details are on the charity’s website.
Press release issued by Nottingham based PR company Perfect 10 PR