There are few better sights than one of Hook Norton’s beautiful shire horses, stamping its feet and snorting on a cold winter’s morning, fully harnessed to pull its loaded dray through local Cotswold villages and country lanes. These wonderful ‘workhorses’ have been an integral part of brewery life since day one and for many, many years were the reliable backbone of its delivery system. At present, the Brewery has three shire horses, Nelson, Commander and Lucas.
Head Groom – Sarah
Some of you might already recognise our new head groom. Sarah was a regular face serving in the restaurant and welcoming you to the brewery as part of the Visitor’s Centre team. Sarah will be responsible for their day to day care and accompanying them while out delivering and exercising. Before joining the brewery Sarah had previously worked in the equestrian industry as a groom at event yards and riding schools. Sarah has also enjoyed competing her own horse in low level competition’s over the years.
Coachman – Nick
Nicks love of the heavy horse started seven years ago, primarily working agriculturally and showing before qualifying as a professional horse logger in 2013. Nick entered the world of carriage driving and has been involved with WW1 commemoration work, riding the lead of a six horse gun team, driving in demonstrations and film work before making the move in 2018 to becoming a full time professional coachman. Nick is regularly found driving carriages in London and across the South at weddings, funerals and proms. He’s gone on to gain experience driving multiple combinations of horses including teams, pairs and tandems. In May 2020 Nick purchased an 8 year old grey Shire mare and spent the summer teaching her to drive before horsing the brewery dray around the village for Christmas. Nick is passionate about promoting our endangered heavy horses, ensuring the survival of traditional working horses and methods; along with preserving Hook Norton Brewery’s history.
Both Nick and Sarah are looking forward to seeing you while they are out and about with the horses
The shire horses usually make a local delivery on Wednesdays to the Sun Inn, Thursdays to the Pear Tree and Fridays to the Gate Hangs High (weather permitting). If you are planning a visit to the brewery and would like to see the drays on their delivery rounds it is always best to phone ahead and check that the shires will be working on that day. The tour of the brewery includes a tour of the stables and we aim to have the horses in the stables during your visit but this may not be possible due to operational or weather reasons. See our Shire Horses in action – Racing UK TV Horse of the Year Show 2018 with Martin Clunes
Dedicated to the protection, promotion and improvement of the Shire Horse since 1878. The Shire Horse Society works hard to protect the breed. To help them with their work why not become a member?
Help this society continue with their wonderful work promoting and protecting the Shire Horse.