Trot to Southsea for a weekend of Heavy Horses

Heavy Horses on Southsea Common
Heavy Horses on Southsea Common
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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The sound of thunderous hooves on grass will once again fill Southsea Common as the Heavy Horse Weekend returns for its 26th year.

Falconry displays, horse dressage, craft stalls and the K9 Kaper Fun Dog Show are just some of the activities on offer for families this bank holiday weekend, at Southsea’s Castle Field.

The Heavy Horse Weekend is running from tomorrow until Monday and offers free fun for all the family.

Events include arts and crafts stalls, an inflatable helter skelter, a bucking bronco, an F1 grand prix simulator and a climbing wall from 10am to 4pm daily.

On Saturday, there will be a fun dog show from Stubbington Ark, with visitors encouraged to enter their canine companions on the day.

Awards include the waggiest tale, best owner, most like to take home, kindest eyes, most handsome, best puppy, prettiest bitch and best dog handler.

The event runs from 11am until 4pm and dog entry costs just £1.

The fun continues into Sunday, with the Gales National Horse Obstacle Driving Championships.

The race involves a course of cones, which horses must follow to be in with a chance of winning a prize.

For the first time in this event, there will be dressage from The Blonde Bombshells, a modern show featuring two Comtois horses and their riders in blonde wigs. It takes place at 1.45pm.

Not only that, but there will be falconry displays from 11am until 2pm featuring hawks, eagles, owls, falcons and vultures.

The May Day bank holiday fun will conclude on Monday with the traditional Heavy Horse parade, in which 30 heavy horses will make the journey from Castle Field to Southsea Common from 12.30pm

On their return, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Paula Riches, will present all participants with a rosette and horse brasses.

Every year the heavy horse weekend is a major event on the seafront, with between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors each day.

Heather Todd, assistant events manager at Portsmouth City Council, says: ‘This year is shaping up to be brilliant, especially if the weather is going to be as beautifully sunny as it has been recently.

‘The heavy horse parade is to show off the majestic side of the horses.

‘I think it is great we are bringing the countryside to the sea and not many people get close to horses in the city.

‘It is for everyone to come along and find something interesting to do,’ she concludes.

Portsmouth’s Park and Ride runs on Saturday from Lakeside North Harbour to the city centre and costs £2.50 per car.