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Saturday 7th September 2024

75 Years of Moreton Show

Did you know that the Moreton Show we know and love today was born when three local societies; The Cotswold Agricultural Society, The Moreton Shire Horse Society and The Moreton in Marsh and District Agricultural Society all amalgamated and became Moreton in Marsh & District Agricultural & Horse Show Society in March 1949?

CAPTION:75 years of Moreton Show: all about its history, heavy horse and how it began in 1949.

The inaugural meeting decided that the objectives of the Society should be to improve the breeding and rearing of livestock, hunters and heavy horses, and the standard of farming and farm crafts. These objectives are still at the forefront of the Society today, as well as promoting the high welfare standards that are upheld in British Agricultural industry.

The more modern Moreton Show also aims to help educate the general community where food comes from and the importance of supporting our farmers: to encourage the next generation to take up a career in the Ag industry.

Looking back, Vice Chair of the horse section - Nicholas Carter - Head Coachman of Hook Norton Brewery, is organising this year’s Heavy Horse Parade. Nicholas reflects: “Is there anything more iconic than parading heavy horses at a country show, the glossy white feathers, glistening brass and the tinkle of bells? The heavy horse is now a dying sight from days gone by.”

Moreton Show, one of the UKs largest one day agricultural show, is home to all four heavy horse breeds, showcasing the Shire, Clydesdale, Suffolk Punch and French Percheron. These are the tractors of days gone by, who shaped and farmed the land as we know it, now disappearing into the pages of history facing the real threat of extinction.

At the first show, held on Saturday 3rd September 1949, it was decided that Shire, Hunter, Pony classes and jumping events would be included, together with classes for Dairy Shorthorns, Ayrshires, Friesians, Jerseys, Guernseys and Red Polls, beef bulls sheep and pigs. Farm and Craft competitions, known today as Farms & Crops competitions, were to be held during the summer months with prizes awarded for the best Farmed Farm – under 200 acres and over 200 acres, the Best Fields of Barley, Wheat, Oats and Beans. The Best Crop of Potatoes, Mangolds or Swedes and Kale, and the Best Three-Year Grazing Ley. Competitions for agricultural workers included Ploughing, Hedging and Thatching.

Moreton Show has grown extensively over the past 75 years, although remains in full support of the majority of these competitions… and now many, many more.

One of the team’s main focuses is the promotion and preservation of rare and minority breeds. More rare breed classes are included in the Livestock schedule than ever before and there will be a Heavy Horse Parade in the Grand Arena. The parade will showcase the versatility of these large horses - in both driven and ridden work - and hopefully help to secure their place for years to come. In addition, this year Moreton Show is proud to be hosting the HOYS The Barber Family Ridden Heavy Horse class, where ridden heavy horses from all four breeds will compete for their space at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show.

Jess Parkes, Horse Secretary said: “The Heavy Horse Parade has always been a popular part of the show but in recent years we have endeavoured to promote the Heavy Horses more and with the help of Hook Norton Brewery, it has become a great attraction. The Moreton Show Society are keen to continue to support and promote the four heavy horse breeds as they are a crucial part of the Moreton Show history and we do not want to see these beautiful creatures dwindle away.”

As well as being this year’s Heavy Horse Parade organiser, Nick is also the Head Coachman of Hook Norton Brewery; which remains only one of three breweries in the country to still deliver to this day with horsedrawn dray to local pubs. Nick says: “Moreton Show is easily one of the highlights in our calendar, last year we debuted our four-year-old Shire horses, Brigadier and Balmoral who took to the Grand Arena having only been trained to drive in June. We’re looking forward to returning this year with the boys, as well as bringing with us our award-winning ales.

In 2024 the Shire Horse Society will be joining us over at the Hooky Heavy Horse Area where you can learn more about our native British breed and ways in which you can support.”

Don’t forget to visit the Hooky Heavy Horse Area at the show, you will find them in the Horse Area – near the Farriers. Moreton Show is looking forward welcoming many rare breeds to the show on Saturday 7th September. Please head to the website to enter Livestock and Horse Classes and book your tickets: www.moretonshow.co.uk

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Moreton-in-Marsh Agricultural and Horse Show Society is a Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England No. 2397134; Registered Charity No. 900122. Registered Office: Moreton Show Office, 5 Wychwood Court, London Road, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos, GL56 0JQ