Best Mate is no more

This is a very sad story. My favourite line is: “…at least he didn’t do anything terrible like fall or break a leg. We will all miss him very much.”

Yeah thank God he had the decency to die like a real horse and not one of those namby pamby wusses who would break a leg. It reminds me of the sad case of a horse who died last year. Can anyone remember the name? I think he was called King, but I may be wrong.

14 thoughts on “Best Mate is no more

  1. This is the second big horse death that we’ve suffered this year. I can’t believe you’ve forgotten his name.

    It was of course ‘Farmer Jack’ (1996-2005 RIP) who died in March of this year. He was described by all as “an honest horse”.

  2. You were thinking of the shire horse named King, who I believe was at one time the biggest living horse in the world and came from your area. I think he also tragically died this year.
    Possibly your confusion was caused by watching to much Spotlight (SW regional news) where Kings demise was widely reported. Of course King was based at the National Shire Horse Center in Yealmpton, nr Plymouth, which also boasts an impressive owl sancturary.

  3. Yes, thanks to both of you for clarifying the situation. Farmer Jack was an inspiration to us all.

    As to the National Shire Horse Centre in Yealmpton – I have been there several times and I did meet King on one occasion. The Shire Horse Centre – great though it sounds – became something of a stone in the horseshoe for me though. The bus from Modbury to Plymouth used to make a diversion to stop there every single trip and I never saw one person get on or off the bus. it was a complete waste of everybody’s time. When the centre finally went out of business for the 5th time, the bus no longer needed to stop there. I was living in Fremantle then.

  4. I first went to the Shire Horse Centre in 1980. I met King several times – as well all the other horses (Bellasize Margaret, Roy, Duke, Baron, Emperor). We went there every time we came to England for a visit. I was very sad to hear it went out of business, and it saddens me even more to discover how “Locals” gloat other the closing of the centre amd wish the family Flower all the best.

  5. Thanks for that, Lurdle. The National Shire Horse Centre was always a very popular attraction, even with “locals”. Unfortunately, its name became synonymous with mismanagement and financial crisis. In time, the Centre stopped being the popular attraction it used to be and became something of a liability.

    While you were in Devon, I hope you visited some of our other sights. It would be very sad indeed if you thought the Shire Horse Centre was our best attraction. We also have Plymouth Dome, Exeter Cathedral and Dartmoor Prison.

  6. I oly got to visit the centre on one occasion… I lived in Holbeton,nr.Plymouth for a year,and went on a charity bed-push with the Young Farmers Club were we had a brief stop at The national Shire Horse Centre… I was sad to learn they had closed down-as I wanted to come visit as a “tourist” on my next GB-visit..
    greetings from Denmark.

  7. I remember visiting Yealmpton and stroking King, and he eat some of my mints…they said he loves mints. What a shame to hear about the centre and King 🙁 I was about 6 years old when I visited. I am 24 now, and have always lived in West Yorkshire, and so I conclude that my visit to see king on a red hot summers day, was one of the happiest moments of my life, and will remember it forever.

    Sleep well King, I promise to bring you a pack of mints next time we meet xxx



  8. I grew up at the National Shire Horse Centre, A very happy to to grow up in the world. My father was Tony Flower. We still get involved with Shires, but the since my father passed away the bank took all the horses. I have forgot all the sad memories and what bank-accountant think. I do remember the great memonries and the great memories people still pass onto all thoughs whom, visted or worked at the National Shire Horse Centre. Best Wishes B

  9. Brian – thanks for your comment. It’s very sad that the horses were taken away. I grew up visiting the Shire Horse Centre and I lived in Modbury. All the best, Tom

  10. I remember tony flower and the shire horse centre. I first met tony in yealmpton in 1965 when I filmed for movietonews his latest invention an electrric ewe. years later I filmed Harnessing the past for TSW which won an award at tshe new york film and tv festival.

  11. I worked at The National Shire Horse Centre when I was 15. It was in its’ heyday then, and I remember you Brian although you were only a young lad then. I think it was you I saw judging the Heavy Horses at the Devon County Show in 2009. I loved working there and have very fond memories of the place and the people. I just found some photos online of the farm as it is now, derelict and abandoned, it’s heartbreaking to see. If only I could win the lottery…

  12. I grew up in yealmpton. In early 80’s I worked
    as the cook with a guy who (mike jones i think ) got a job on the QE2. I found some pic’s on line. llooks pretty bad, but brings back some great memories.

  13. I remember the Centre from manning the brewers’ bars at the annual beer festivals between (about) 1985 and 1988. We had great fun and hope we helped the finances. We always went down to the Rose & Crown in Yealmpton for the evening and often a lock-in!

    I also remeber a police car visiting and the copper seducing one of the exhibitors after shuttling her and us to the beach. Apparantly the Centre was out of radio range!

    Great days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.