Muswellbrook's St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021

HARD AT WORK: Clydesdale Wilfred with John Sercombe and Jocelyn Cockbain.
Photo: Kylie Sercombe

HARD AT WORK: Clydesdale Wilfred with John Sercombe and Jocelyn Cockbain. Photo: Kylie Sercombe

FOR some, it will be a trip down memory lane, and for others a new experience when St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days makes its grand return on May 15 and 16.

The two-day event pays homage to the heavy horse through competitions, demonstrations, trade stalls and more.

Held at the St Heliers Exhibition Grounds at Muswellbrook, it's a weekend dedicated to the gentle giants, from Clydesdales to Shires, Percherons to Draughts and everything in between.

Last year, the global pandemic put a halt to the event which had been racing from strength to strength, but committee president Lindsay Vonbun said their return will be special because it marks a major milestone.

"It's our 25th anniversary," he said.

"So that makes it that bit more special for us. We started in 1996.

GENTLE GIANTS: Clydesdale horses Barney and Wilfred owned by John and Kylie Sercombe. Photo: Kylie Sercombe

GENTLE GIANTS: Clydesdale horses Barney and Wilfred owned by John and Kylie Sercombe. Photo: Kylie Sercombe

"We've put in the extra work this year to get the event up and running and our safety plans in place and we hoping we will have a record amount of horses, competitors and spectators come along."

For the heavy horse owner, there are events such as led, ridden, slide obstacle, ploughing, long reining, log snig, heritage and show horse drawn vehicles, pumpkin snatch, work day challenge and more.

But for the public there are stalls, antiques, leather works, food and coffee stalls, memorabilia displays, demonstrations and more throughout the weekend.

On Saturday night there is a big charity auction, where the committee auctions off a variety of goods with proceeds going into funding future field days.

But according to Mr Vonbun, it's the sheer strength and beauty of the horses which keeps the public coming back year after year.

"A lot of people are amazed by how quiet they are, their temperament," he said.

"We don't put a lot of weight on any of our horses at our competitions, but younger people see it and they're amazed that that's how things were done in the earlier days.

"And the older people see it and it brings back memories for them.

"Some would still remember the bread cart and milk cart coming around and maybe some ploughing.

"A lot of their fathers and mothers would have worked with horses in the past which brings back memories."

Gates open 8am Saturday and Sunday May 16 and 17 at the St Heliers Exhibition Grounds, Muswellbrook.

Gate entry is $5 per adult, $2.50 for pensioners and free for kids under 12.

For a full program visit https://www.stheliersheavyhorse.org.au/