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Gressenhall Museum says farewell to Suffolk Punch

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:45 07 July 2010

Harvey with farm manager Richard Dalton

Harvey with farm manager Richard Dalton

Kathryn Cross

They are known as the gentle giants of Gressenhall and attract thousands of visitors every year to the Farm and Workhouse near Dereham.

But one of the Suffolk Punch horses, bought only last year, has failed to live up to the breed's reputation and is to be rehomed.

They are known as the gentle giants of Gressenhall and attract thousands of visitors every year to the Farm and Workhouse near Dereham.

But one of the Suffolk Punch horses, bought only last year, has failed to live up to the breed's reputation and is to be rehomed.

Four-year-old Harvey was brought to Gressenhall in June to replace 18-year-old George who died in the March. He was reunited with old stable mate Jimbo, another youngster, who had been recruited to replace Queenie who also died last year.

But while Jimbo's training is going to plan the farm staff and other experienced professionals have been unable to get the independent Harvey to toe the line, particularly when in the harness he would need to wear to demonstrate traditional farming techniques - an important part of the farm's operation and visitor experience.

They have sadly come to the conclusion that his behaviour is unlikely to improve enough to ever safely introduce him to the public.

Christine Walters, chairman of the Friends of Gressenhall, said it was a very difficult decision to make but as they had received the offer of a very good home for him they felt it was the right thing for the farm and the horse.

"One of our volunteers Graham Larter has offered to take him on," she said. "He has a smallholding near Dereham and is very trusted pair of hands. Harvey will have other horses around for companionship and will be able to settle there for the rest of his life. It was very important for us to find a place where that could happen.

"We just could not compromise safety and Harvey was just not reliable enough. He is like a teenager with attitude and he was also very boisterous with the other horses. It does happen sometimes. Way back before Queenie we had a horse who was just not right for the farm.

"But there is no doubt about his future. He will be on permanent loan so if ever Graham could not look after him any more he would come back here."

Mrs Walters added that as there had been such a fantastic response to their appeal last year for funds to buy the horses they did not need to do

any more fundraising for another horse.

"We have found in the past that horses have found us, and our farm manager Richard Dalton knows so many people that if someone wants to move a horse on then he would hear about it.

"It is not a priority at the moment. We have two very reliable horses in Trojan and Bowler who are good as gold so we can still focus our efforts on our new Land Army gallery."


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