Pigs, cattle and… Shires?

We’re primarily known for our rare breed pork, dry aged beef, lamb and those sausage rolls. However, there is now something else The Ginger Pig are becoming known for and it definitely isn’t found in our meat counter.

Part of The Ginger Pig’s early days saw Tim Wilson, founder and farmer, devoted to saving the rare Longhorn cattle breed from extinction – at one point Tim had the largest herd of Longhorns in the country. Having succeeded with the Longhorn, Tim decided to turn his interest to another forgotten rural animal that was struggling in numbers and one he had a great fondness for, Shire horses.

In England during the 19th century, Shire Horses were used extensively to cart goods from the docks to the cities and countryside due to their fantastic ability for pulling weight. Around the time of World War II, an increase of industrialisation and strict regulations on livestock feed reduced the need for draft horses.  This is resulted in a mass slaughter of these beautiful creatures and the breed fell to its lowest point in the 1950s and 1960s, when less than 100 horses were shown at the annual British Spring Show.

Fast forward 40 odd years and the number of registered Shires has slowly started to increase, and in 2o12 Tim purchased his first pair of yearling colts, followed by three fillies. He currently has four geldings and five mares. At the beginning of last year, Tim employed horse veteran David Coffen, and his wife Zoe, to start rearing black Shires.

Last month we took two of our beautiful geldings, Maes Knoll Sir Oswald (Ozzy) and Levisham Baron (Nobby), aged 12 and 13, to the National Shire Horse Show at Arena UK to show in two classes, the Single Trade Turnout and the Paris Trade Turnout. The Shires did outstandingly well, and we were delighted to be placed 4th in the Single Trade Turnout, but even more ecstatic to be placed 1st in the Paris Trade Turnout.

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David and the boys executing a figure of eight…  It’s not an easy task!

It was truly a proud moment to then be awarded Reserve Champion for the overall Turnout Championships.  This wonderful result has only inspired Tim and The Ginger Pig to continue in their support of this magnificent breed, and to honour its working tradition.

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1st Place!

Here’s some photos of David, Zoe, Belle and the Shires getting ready for their first show:

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Nobby getting showered and cleaned for the show

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Our brilliant farrier, Jason Richardson, at work making made to measure shoes, accompanied by Max the dog.

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Pete Witney, signwriter from Whitby, who does our lovely shop windows and signage, puts the finishing touches to the Ginger Pig dray.

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The Singles Trade Class, where the boys came a  very creditable 4th place

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 Ozzy and Nobby return for a well-earned rest before winning their Reserve Champion rosette