VISITORS TO the Shire Horse Spring Show, which kicks off tomorrow (Mar 19), will be able to see more than 200 of these gentle giants at the Peterborough event.

The two-day show, held at the East of England Showground, offers a host of features, including main ring entertainment through the day, cross-country driving, working demonstrations and ridden displays to music.

 It also includes a specialist area of vintage tractors and farm machinery, farriery competitions and a dog agility show – and will culminate with a spectacular Grand Parade on each afternoon.

 “The number of breeding mares in the UK has dropped by one-third since 1995,” points out Andrew Mercer, chief executive of the Shire Horse Society, which organises the event.

 “In 2003, there were only 100 filly foals left in the UK (after exports), which currently is not enough to replace the horses dying from old age.

“Today, there are thought to be fewer than 3000 shire horses left and it is vital, as a nation, we continue to support this breed before it becomes too late.”