Recent tradition has it that brewery horses are used - Whitbread's
and Young's to be precise - but for the first time in a generation
the privilege was put out to tender and after a number of interviews
and site visits from the parade organisers, Waldburg Shires was
given the contract. "It was quite a tough procedure" Elspeth says,
now fine-tuning her horses for the big day, "but it was well worth
it and we're all ever so excited!"
The big day! There will be 16 team
members on the day, all - as you'd imagine immaculately dressed.
"Last month we all had to go down to London to be measured up for
the uniforms, so that was very interesting and we got to have a look
at the route. We'll practise on it three times before the big day -
but at midnight, because obviously the traffic is just too heavy
around the City of London in the daytime," David explains. The
Lord's Mayor Parade has been taking over the streets of London for
nearly 800 years now and involves over 6,000 people, bands, more
than 140 decorated floats, costumed performers and a gilded State
Coach that the Lord Mayor travels in, pulled this year by Waldburg's
fine Shires from Sacrewell!
The Lord Mayor is required to swear
an oath of loyalty to the Queen (in the presence of the Lord Chief
Justice) at the end of the parade which runs from Guildhall to the
Royal Courts of Justice. Spectators are welcome and best of all,
unless you wish to sit in the grandstand, it's free! The procession
leaves the Guildhall at 10.50am for Mansion House. At 11.05am it
leaves Mansion House and travels via St Paul's, the Royal Courts of
Justice and Victoria Embankment before returning to Mansion House at
2.35pm. There is also a fireworks display on the Thames between
Waterloo and Blackfriars at 5pm.
Waldburg Shires are based at
Sacrewell Farm & Country Centre, running the new Shire Horse Centre
set up by the Shire Horse Society. There are currently 11 Shire
Horses at the farm - a number of working horses not seen on the farm
since the 1940's.
The Shire Horse Centre aims to
promote the breed and to provide training to Shire Horse owners.
"The Shire Horse Centre has developed very quickly at the farm with
the help of the Shire Horse Society and Waldburg Shires" says
Sacrewell's general manager Peter Thompson, "it is great to get the
recognition associated with what is probably one of the most
prestigious contracts in the Shire Horse world. Sacrewell provides a
fantastic backdrop to the magnificent Shire Horses with its heritage
buildings and tranquil setting".
At Sacrewell Farm & Country Centre
you will find, along with the Shire Horse Centre, friendly farm
animals, play areas, a working watermill and farm bygones. With the
visitor centre spread over 50 acres you can always enjoy the feeling
of space and rural tranquility, whether you have come to visit for
the day or are staying on the attractive campsite. Tractor rides
around the 550-acre working farm are always popular, or you can walk
one of the farm trails.
As with anyone passionate about
their interest, Elspeth downplays just how tough it can be to look
after these magnificent creatures. "Oh, they're great," she says
nonchalantly, "just bigger and heavier, that's all." She does,
however, concede that their feathers do require cleaning everyday,
but apart from that there's nothing out of the ordinary required.
More of her time is taken caring for the ever-increasing number of
Shire horses, which the Shire Horse Society is homing at Sacrewell.
Just recently, for instance, the centre was proud to welcome a new
foal and hopefully, says Elspeth, "there will be many more."
There will be a photo opportunity on
the grass in front of the Miller's Country Café at 10am on Sunday
7th October at Sacrewell, when the team of 6 Shires will be training
for the big day from 9am, along with the driver, postillion (riding
one of the lead horses), brakeman, footman and six walking grooms.
October 2007 -
Peterborough UK Community Website