The leaders are all the animals in front of the wheelers. As they are also in front of the pole or shaſts, they cannot provide any braking effort.

Wheelers and leaders in a team usually have somewhat different harness: wheelers usually have breeching so they can pull back on the shaſts or pole; leaders do not need breeching, and nor do animals pulling a dragged load such as a plough (where all the animals are effectively leaders). Wheelers may not need breeching in very light vehicles, or those with efficient brakes.

Historically, very heavy loads were sometimes controlled downhill by additional pairs hitched behind the vehicle. Such additional pairs were oſten hired to passing vehicles to help them either up or down a particularly steep hill. In the War, large teams of horses were oſten needed to pull the heaviest types of horse artillery.

Horses have also been used for more unusual tasks. In 1770 a

team of thirty-eight horses moved a windmill from Hall Bank to Hale near Liverpool. In 1713 a team of forty horses dragged an immense boulder from a nearby farm to Hartest Green in Suffolk where it was placed upright to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht.

The Shire Horse despite its history and grandeur is an animal on the Rare Breeds ‘At Risk’ register. With little over 1500 breeding females leſt, and just over 300 foals born each year, much is being done by the Shire Horse Society to try and protect and preserve the breed. The Shire Horse is protected and preserved by The Shire Horse Society. It is the only charity dedicated to the protection, promotion and improvement of the Shire Horse. Since 1878 the Shire Horse Society has been working to protect the breed, which 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.

Find out more atw www.shire-horse.or

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