Saddle up as heavy horse show comes to Southsea

The George Gale Brewery dray in action at the Heavy Horse Show on the Castle Field in Southsea
The George Gale Brewery dray in action at the Heavy Horse Show on the Castle Field in Southsea
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Majestic heavy horses will be taking Southsea back to a time before horsepower was under the bonnet of a car, and instead at the reins of a coach, trap or carriage, in an event this weekend.

The annual Heavy Horse show returns for a 27th year from tomorrow to Monday.

The council-run event brings free entertainment, events and fun for all the family to Castle Field.

On all three days, from 10am until 5pm, there will be an arts and crafts market, pony and donkey rides and a vintage tea tent.

There will also be catering stands and trade stalls from 10am each day.

But the arena events are the main attraction. These begin at 11am each morning and include the K9 Kapers dog show tomorrow.

Here, visitors can enter their dog in one of the competitions, or just watch the fun from the crowd.

Then, on Sunday, the Gales national heavy horse obstacle driving championships will be storming the arena in an impressive display of horsemanship and horses.

This will be followed by a sheepdog display with a difference. A dutiful dog will round up geese and ducks with amazing skill.

But the weekend’s finale, on Monday, will be the heavy horse parade at noon.

This procession is the highlight of the weekend and sees around 30 magnificent horses making their way from Castle Field to Southsea Common and back again.

There will also be a scurry driving challenge in the arena the same day.

The weekend’s events are expected to attract between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors each day, with horsemen and women travelling from across the county to attend and compete in this highlight of the equine calendar.

Heather Todd, assistant events manager at the city council, says: ‘This event is a fantastic opportunity for people to get up close to an array of beautiful heavy horses and to see them in action on Sunday and Monday.

‘The addition of the pony and donkey rides and sheepdog display this year brings a bit of countryside to the seaside!’

n For more information, contact Heather on (023) 9284 1400.