The Suffolk Punch is among the noblest of our British breeds of horse and yet it has come perilously close to
extinction. Characterised as containing all the physical attributes essential to a good working horse – Style Symmetry and
Strength – its good nature and placid temperament allowed one observer, writing in the 1860s, to record a scene then common
in our country lanes of ‘a great Suffolk cart-horse as big as an elephant, conducted by a tiny thing of a boy who can scarcely
reach the horse’s nose to take hold of the rein’.
That such a magnificent beast such disappear entirely from our world is unthinkable and this book is provides a historical
overview along with a current status of the Suffolk Punch. Containing over 120 photographs.
The Suffolk Punch Trust was set up in 2002 to take the Colony Stud at HM Hollesley Prison into private charitable ownership.
It is the country’s oldest existing stud and the stamp of horse there is of very high quality. The Trust’s primary aims are
to expand the Suffolk Punch breed, make the horses more accessible to the general public, to continue the therapeutic,
rehabilitation and training programmes for prison inmates, and to undertake conservation and heritage education.
It is almost a hundred years since the last comprehensive history of the Suffolk Punch was written. The principal aim of this
book is to provide an up to date illustrated study of these handsome animals and to bring to the attention of the wider public
an appreciation of the breed, its historic importance as a working horse, and the current work being done to ensure its survival.
Edward Hart's first memories are of the horses of the Scots Greys, a regiment from the nearby Strensall Barracks,York, which
were exercised daily past his home. One of his grandfathers was a noted breeder of Hackney horses, the other a village joiner
and wheelwright, and Edward remained fascinated by the working horse. He became a farm worker on leaving school, counting
himself lucky to have caught the tail end of the big farm staffs and the horse age on the land. After farming on his own account,
Edward Hart became a full-time agricultural journalist and author, and has written over thirty books. Several are on heavy
horses, the most recent being Showing the Heavy Horse.
As a writer for Horse and Hound and Heavy Horse World, he reports on major shows, and visits the leading studs. An early one
was Hollesley Bay, and he came to know many Suffolk practitioners, from horsemen to brewery owners. Edward Hart also
writes regularly for The Daily Telegraph, Country Illustrated and The Yorkshire Post, and welcomes the chance to spread the gospel
of the Suffolk Punch.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 84114 651 5, hardback, 210x297mm, 144 pages. Published October 2007. Reprinted March 2013.