Countryfile farm's rare breed horse show prepares for final outing

A horse show which highlighted the plight of a rare breed will stage its 20th and final ever show on Sunday (July 31).

Mike and Alison Clarke breed the very rare Suffolk Punch Horse, which is rarer that the Chinese Panda
Mike and Alison Clarke breed the very rare Suffolk Punch Horse, which is rarer that the Chinese Panda

The Trimpley Heavy Horse Show is hosted by Mike Clarke, his daughter Alison, and their family at Holbeache Farm in Trimpley, where they breed the very rare Suffolk Punch Horse.

The breed is so rare, in fact, it is even rarer that the Chinese Panda.

However, this year will be their farewell show, despite accumulating a loyal fanbase over the last two decades and even appearing on Countryfile.

Tracy Usowicz, Mike's daughter, said: "It is with a heavy heart that this will be the farewell show.

"There is a myriad of reasons for this decision, but it is mainly due to the redevelopment of the farm and the downsizing of the business as Mike is going to be 75 this year and it’s time for him to slow down a little.

"Alison will still be running the Stud, and this has gone from strength to strength as most people will know if they have watched Countryfile.

"Mike and Alison were approached by Countryfile during lockdown as it had been brought to Adam Henson’s attention that they ran the biggest Suffolk Stud in the UK, and they were fairly local to him.

"Well one thing led to another and hey presto, Mike and Alison have featured on Countryfile several times over the last couple of years, aiding Adam with all things Suffolk."

Mike decided to get involved with horses over 22 years ago and decided to support the Suffolk Punch breed when he took on Holbeache as his own farm.

He bought Harvey, the farm's first Suffolk who is now 22-years-old and is still Mike's favourite.

The horse show was set up to promote the breed and "try and educate the public about the plight of the Suffolk Punch Horse".

People can head to the farm on Sunday to meet the horses and their foals, where Alison and Mike will be on hand to talk about the horses and answer any questions.

There will also be horse demonstrations, horse and cart rides, tractor and trailer rides, a fun fair, bouncy castles, a craft and stalls area, and refreshments.

It's a bittersweet moment for the family as they reach the end of an era.

Tracy added: "Mike, Alison, and family would like to thank everyone who has been to the show, for supporting this rare breed and for helping bring their endangered status to the public eye.

"Without your support this lifelong dream would not be as successful as it is today and for that they thank each and everyone of you - the public, the helpers, the traders and especially all the horse people who travel across the country to bring their horses to partake in the show.

"So, although it is sad to say goodbye, it has been an absolute plesure for Mike and Alison to share a part of their life and story with you."

The show runs from 10am to 4pm at Holbeache Farm in Trimpley on Sunday. Details of the show can be found on Facebook and at holbeachesuffolkpunches.com.

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