One of our Shire Horses, Major, is moving from an active phase of his life working around the Museum to retirement.
At 18 years old, there have been some signs that Major is slowing down and problems with one hoof have meant regular consultation with our vet has been required.
Although his condition in the last few months has improved, we have taken the advice of our vet and taken the decision this is the right time for his retirement.
The Museum has been working closely for some time with the Sampson’s of Ringwood and it is to their farm that Major is now moving, where he will continue to be seen by the same vet and cared for by both the Sampson family and the Museum.
Major Harold joined the Museum’s working horse stables in 2010, from Fishers Farm Park in Wisborough Green. His acquisition was made possible by a generous donation from Ann Wickenden. She offered to donate another horse in memory of her father Harold (1889–1979).
Harold Wickenden emigrated to Canada aged 19 in 1909 as a pioneer homesteader on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. He applied for a quarter section (240 acres) of virgin prairie when it was government policy to give land away free if a proportion was broken and fenced in within two years.
Harold Wickenden succeeded in achieving this with the use of draught horses and oxen, eventually growing crops and establishing his own homestead.
Ann was captivated by his stories of those hard pioneering days and felt the donation of a heavy horse to a museum where traditional methods are practiced would be an appropriate memorial to him.
The Museum is very grateful for her support.