In the mid nineties after a personal mishap, I became involved with heavy horses and in particular the Suffolk Punch. I was born in 1949 after the second world war and really did not want for anything. I had a great chidhood, I left school before academic exams, an apprenticeship with a car manufacturer. Mercedes Benz every boys dream
Several years on, forward to the nineties I found out the plight of heavy horses, so much so,for eighteen months they were never out of my mind. I really wanted to help. When I found out there were less Suffolk Punches than Giant Panda’s and on the endangered species list.I had to find the reason why.
The heavy horse population at the turn of the twentieth century was over 9 million, over three million lost Their lives in the first world war, but over 7 million in total was the death toll of animals. We remember our heroes of the first world war and every subsequent conflict ever since. What about the animals!!!!
Mechanisation tractors made the heavy horse obsolete, and from archive photos, you see farmers taking their horses for slaughter so they could buy their Massey Ferguson D 40 to replace their horses.
The demise of the heavy horse was inevitable; we no longer had use of them in our modern age. It made me angry; why should a species that has served us so well for centuries no longer be necessary. A few people that feel the same way have societies for the protection of our heavy horses. It’s somewhat of an expensive hobby to keep and raise a heavy horse, and it’s a hobby for the wealthy or charities
Having always had a commercial flair thought this was not good enough, we need to commercialise the breed and find uses for them other than farming, breweries used them, and a few have kept a token force of them
Enter my idea let’s get them back to work. We had to make a commercial case so it was profitable to raise and own a heavy horse. It would take a considerable amount of money.I needed to raise at least £250,000 to promote a round Britain carriage ride using the last remaining post office carriage or fabricate a replica using the most modern materials.
Design and manufacturer to be done by poly technics universities technical colleges in a competition with a cash prize. The winning carriage would have all the attributes I was looking for, basically a chassis that could be used in various uses.ie a 20 seater bus, a wedding carriage, a hearse and anything else, just lowered on to the same chassis.
So all I wanted was the £250k to get the ball rolling. All I needed was 8 heavy horses two 4×4 teams to pull the carriage. At the time I thought it would be good to get the late Terry Wogan to do his radio show from the carriage, it would be like save the children but save the Heavy horse. I had no undertaken to do this but I know he would have gone for it as an Irish man loves horses. The people that owned the horses wanted more of a reassurance that it would happen and wanted money on the table, similarly the sponsors the UK tractor manufacturers needed to see something tangerble. So I entered a catch 22 situation, the horse owners the poly technics and would be sponsors, had to be shown something and without the cash required to get the ball rolling the grand plan was scupered. An idea sprang into mind write a bestselling novel and use the proceeds to get the plan to go. The theme of the novel now complete was based on a dream I had around the same time, what was unusual about the dream it resumed after I had awoke from a comfort break, never had a dream like it and since. So in 2007 I started writing The Shimmering but it took a lot of time to get it told and eventually finished the trilogy early this year.
I suppose like most of my life the book emphasises my life ethics, my love for animals, fairness for all, money can make a difference if used to the benefit of all humanity not just the few.