LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS - OPENING CEREMONY
When the Kent based firm Drayhorse shires first got the phone call from the Olympic organizers to supply staff and 5 shire horses for the Olympic opening ceremony, they couldn’t believe there luck!Meeting after meeting followed and then all parties happy the contracts were signed.Then it dawned on the owners Gavin & Nara Stevens how do you train horses to perform in front of 62,000 people, Training started to pick the best mannered horses with the most confidence, then came the day of the first rehearsal, Can the horses pull the two beautiful omnibuses?
The main ramp was very steep and there were many different floor surfaces to contend with.
The horses were hitched in and Gavin took his seat, with thousands of pounds already spent and some of the top designers and directors watching, Gavin gave the command “walk on boys” The two black shires Jim and Charlie walked on just like every other job, through the tunnels and corridors and out into the stadium. Then the ramp all builders and designers waited eagerly, one quick command from Gavin trot on lads and before you knew it they were standing proud at the top.That’s really how it all began and some three months later and many many rehearsals and changes the final result was shown in front of 4 billion people. All five shires, Jim black gelding, Charlie, black gelding, Honour grey mare, Valour grey gelding and the most impressive Albert black stallion, the cart horse. So impressing not one scary moment was had.Gavin States, That Nara and the staff were all so professional, it made the job easy and with people and horses like this anything is possible. From day one everything run so smooth with no problems, it was a massive job to undertake in front of all those people but we had to show the world how versatile this forgotten English breed is.
The breed is in trouble and good shires are hard to find but when you find one a truer friend you couldn’t wish for
Drivers Omnibus one
Black geldings Charlie and Jim
Driver Gavin Stevens
Grooms Nara Stevens & Paul Stanley
Driver Omnibus two
Grey Shires Honour And Valour
Grooms Danny Stevens & Michael Hartland
Black Shire stallion Albert
Driver Daniel Brown
Groom Mark Brown