Battle of the Somme Commemoration Finale at BHS Working Horses Day
In glorious sunshine on the first of October the 700 people who attended the BHS Scotland working horse day at Meadowells Farm in the parish of Collessie, Fife courtesy of RH Black; were treated to an intimate and spectacular display of working horses and vintage machinery.
Under the leadership of Benny Duncan from Balmalcolm Clydesdales horsemen from England, Ireland and Scotland reproduced the farming year in a day when they ploughed, planted, fertilised, harrowed, followed by reaper, binder and cart to transport the sheaves to a barn mill where the wheat was separated from the straw. Twenty five Clydesdale horses took part in the day and were assisted both a highland and a Shetland as the Scottish native breeds put on a good show.
With gentle and well trained working horses on hand, the public were able to ask questions, handle the machinery and harness and even have a go. Our informative MC for the Day was George skinner from Strathorn Stables Aberdeenshire and his knowledgeable insight was greatly appreciated. George even took time out from his commentating to show children how to build a corn stack from the sheaves.
The legendary BHS tearoom provided soup, stovies and home baking for everyone and the event was very sociable as people enjoyed the Royal Highland Society archive on Horses in War and Work in an adjacent large marquee. Side shows included mares and foals, J&K Balfour farriers making working horse shoes and a Robert Sibbald Clydesdale showing Masterclass also a forestry demonstration from James Falconer. Simon Alston demonstrated harness decorating and Jim Wallace brought his film and samples of vintage tools.
BHS Scotland is grateful to all the above and the working horsemen; Benny Duncan Balmalcolm Clydesdales, Davy Duncan from Johnshaven Ross Kinnaird, David Nelson, John McDermot from Newton Abbey, Neil McPhail from Campbeltown and Ronnie Walker. Also Davy Walker and Beverly Brown from Galcantry Clydesdales who provided free dray rides all day.
Scottish Manager for BHS Helene Mauchlen said: “Our fifth working horse day exceeded all expectations; the spectacle of these gentle giants working so hard in such close proximity to people using authentic machinery and equipment was stunning. Those who attended ranged in age from 1 to over 100 and the comments we received have been so warm.
“It was a privilege to show case the horses in War and Work archive and we commemorated the First World War in a moving tableau as a finale when we symbolically unhitched a pair from the plough and hitched them to a World War 1 cannon (made by local wheelwright Ian Grant) to see them led off to war by soldiers while Cupar and District Pipe band played the ‘Battle of the Somme’. This was a fitting tribute to the heritage horses have given us and their sacrifice 100 years ago.”