Since 1878 the Shire Horse Society has been working to protect the breed, that was then known as the Old English Breed of Cart Horse.
Over the years the Society has worked hard to ensure that the breed continues to grow and to maintain interest in these magnificent horses.
This has not always been easy. Following the decline of the use of horses in industry, transport and agriculture, with the rise of the motor vehicle and the mechanisation of farming, things seemed bleak for the Shire, and in the 1960’s the Society had to take drastic action to reverse the falling numbers of Shires.
They have done this with great vigour and now the future of the breed looks good. A resurgence of interest in Shire Horses as both leisure animals and environmentally friendly transport has led to an increase in breeding numbers.
However, the Society is never complacent and there is always more work to do. The Society is constantly working to maintain high breed standards. Stallion inspections are mandatory before full registration in the Stud book is permitted.
The Society is also keen to promote awareness of the Shire’s history and future. It does so by organising The Shire Horse Society National Show every March. The Show is the largest gathering of Shire Horses in the country and possibly the world, further details of the National Show can be found on this web site.
The Shire Horse Society is now located in new purpose built premises based at The Old Dairy in the grounds of Rockingham Castle near Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
Following termination of a historic administration contract and a thorough review of the options available to the Society it took the decision to run its own administration in 2013. A home was then established for the Society, the move to Rockingham Castle allows greater promotion of the breed to a much larger audience and engage the membership more actively.
The core objectives of the Society remain the same but we are able to widen the work undertaken to achieve these and educate and inspire the next generation of Shire horse breeders. The new facilities allow a greater opportunity for membership participation and interaction with Society events.
Our premises at Rockingham Castle is home to a number of high profile events such as the Rockingham International Horse Trials, Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club Concours and Rally, Jousting and Medieval Living History Village, and the Rockingham Country Fair.
The Society believes that in challenging financial times it is ever more important to continue to promote the cause and the increase the need for charitable donations and active fundraising. The Society will use the move to increase public awareness of the Society’s work and ultimately increase opportunities, and will enable the development of promotional activities with plans to hold Society open days in the future.
The move allows the Society to develop how it promotes itself to help increase awareness not just nationally but internationally. The venue provides the Society with its own dedicated facilities for office administration, open days, onsite training for all levels and of course the opportunity to be involved with existing events held at Rockingham Castle.
The Society is proud to have Her Majesty the Queen as Patron.