HRH Countess of Wessex gives Royal vote of approval to Banburyshire brewery's dray horse at the National Shire Horse Show

The Countess of Wessex gave her personal approval to Brigadier, the newest member of the Hook Norton Brewery Shire horse team, at the weekend.

HRH the Countess of Wessex offers Brigadier his favourite pint of Hooky after the beautiful three-year-old Shire won the Newcomers Class
HRH the Countess of Wessex offers Brigadier his favourite pint of Hooky after the beautiful three-year-old Shire won the Newcomers Class

Hook Norton Brewery returned triumphant from the National Shire Show, the world’s largest gathering of Shire horses held at Newark Showground over the weekend of March 19 - 20.

Competing for the first time in their 173 year history the Brewery entered Brigadier, their young gelding who competed in the three-year-old gelding class, bringing home a respectable third place, before parading in the Newcomer class and securing first place and being presented with the Barbara Meddings Memorial Perpetual Trophy.

Between classes, Brigadier was admired by Countess Wessex, President of The Shire Horse Society, who took the time to reward him with his favourite pint of Hooky.

Nicholas Carter, Head Coachman at Hook Norton Brewery, is pictured with Brigadier, who was placed third in the three-year-old geldings class at the National Shire Horse Show

Situated just off the A1 in the East Midlands, Newark Showground was the ideal venue attracting around 250 pedigree Shire horses from across Europe, which were shown in-hand, ridden or driven. The show offered visitors the opportunity to see these majestic horses and learn about the important role they play in Britain’s history.

The Shire horse breed is on the ‘at risk’ register compiled by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, with fewer than 300 pedigree Shire horse foals born in the UK every year. The annual show is the flagship event for the Shire Horse Society – the charity that works to protect and promote the breed

Hook Norton Brewery has recently achieved the status of Shire Horse Society Approved Centre status, meeting a rigorous set of criteria ensuring their stables conform to the highest of standards. The knowledgeable team on site are working in unison with the Society to support and raise awareness of these magnificent animals.

Nicholas Carter, Head Coachman said: "It’s been a fantastic start to the show season for us, putting Hooky well and truly on the map. Brigadier behaved impeccably and has enjoyed a few days off in the field before being back in his stable once again to meet and greet our visitors. We look forward to working with the Society even more throughout the year and continuing to raise the profile of these fantastic animals."

To keep up with the Brewery’s two resident Shire horses and Clydesdale, head to their Facebook Hooky Brewery Heavy Horses page. You can also follow the Shire Horse Society on Twitter at