Those popping to the pub in Herefordshire may be lucky enough to see Shire horse Reg delivering a keg or two as he plays his part in keeping Westons Cider’s heritage alive.

The 19.1hh gentle giant conducts his practical duties alongside helping visitors learn about the history of cider-making at the Westons Cider Visitor Centre, as well as appearing at county shows, weddings and other events.

He and fellow Shire Boris are based at the cider-makers in the village of Much Marcle and have been a visitor favourite since they were reintroduced to the family business.

Amber Nancarrow and Reg of Westons Cider in Herefordshire

“Shires were a really fundamental part of cider making when Henry Weston founded the business in 1880,” Westons Cider’s Amber Nancarrow told Your Horse. “The horses were used to drive the mill stone used to crush the apples to start the whole process.”

They were also used to plough the fields and distribute cider, via a cart, to local pubs and nearby train stations.

Reg is keeping the delivery tradition alive, as twice a week he transports kegs of cider to local pubs.

Amber is involved in the day-to-day care of the Shires as well as their event work and Reg’s deliveries. She said 13-year-old Boris’ “quiet and sensitive” nature contrasts to 12-year-old Reg’s “cheeky” personality.

“He’s the wild child out of both of them and loves to get into mischievous situations, but really he’s a proper softy,” she said.

Reg and Boris enjoy some time off in the field

The Shires are turned out overnight and stabled during the day to meet visitors. Amber said the variety of their lives helps them to thrive, with hacking supplementing their other work.

She added that a new equine recruit, yearling Shire Buzz, is hoped to join Reg and Boris in coming years and continue Westons Cider’s Shire horse legacy into the future.

Lead image: Boris and Reg by Westons Cider

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