Shire Horses in West Wales: Warpool Court Hotel’s Peter Trier Points to the Preseli Mountains
“On your holidays in Pembrokeshire, you have a unique opportunity to visit with a precious ‘gentle giant’, the Shire horse,” says Warpool Court Hotel proprietor Peter Trier.
Mr Trier suggests a visit to the Dyfed Shire Horse Farm at the foot of the Preseli Mountains in West Wales. You’ll follow in esteemed footsteps, as HRH Camilla and HRH Prince Charles made their own royal visit here in July 2018.
It’s a great family day out with plenty to do and a fantastic opportunity to get up close to these magnificent creatures. There are lots of fun events and activities scheduled throughout the Summer. Shire Horses are harnessed daily and you can see birds of prey on select days. There’s a chance to do some bottle feeding or donkey grooming too, or view wood turning, weaving, butter making and much more. If the horses need shoeing, you can also watch a master farrier at work.
Children love the rides and tours around the farm via tractor and trailer, land train or horse and cart. With both indoor and outdoor play areas, the kids will have something to keep them occupied whatever the weather. From go-karts, to swings, a giant sand pit and more, there’s something for everyone. And when you've built up an appetite, pop into the farm's ‘Caffi Celt’ cafe and choose from fresh home-cooked light snacks and meals with a ‘distinctly Welsh flavour’.
You’ll probably be surprised to learn the first horses on earth more than 70 million years ago were the size of small dogs. Two types of horses eventually evolved: one, a slender racing horse, and a second, a large heavy work and war horse.
Records in London show that as far back as 1145, horses 'fit for the dray, the plough, or the chariot' were on sale.
The medieval horse developed into the Old English Black Horse in the 17th century. The Black Horse was changed when Dutch engineers brought Friesian horses into England, evolving into the “English Cart Horse” of the late 19th century. The label was replaced in a handful of years to “Shire”. The Shire, tall and black, bay, or grey, is meant to do tough tasks such as farm work or weight-pulling.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were a million horses in England but the current number of shires hovers at about 1,500. After the World War I, the number of horses declined slowly and World War II that heralded the end of the Horse Age. Since the 1970s, the Shire has begun a revival. Today, the breed is used for forestry work, leisure riding and agriculture.
So, why not come and visit these beautiful creatures during your holiday in Pembrokeshire? You can book a short break or a long holiday in one of Warpool Court Hotel’s luxury rooms or stay in our private, self-catering Garden Cottage. We look forward to seeing you this Summer!