Horsing around on Easter Monday

Some of us might have consumed rather too much chocolate this weekend. A walk is a good idea, but if even the gentlest of exercise makes you shudder, why not let beasts of burden take the strain? 

This child had the right idea: get a lift from a pair of prize-winning horses…

Prize-winning horses, 1933 (NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society)

They had taken part in the 1933 Easter Monday Van Horse Parade through London’s Regent’s Park. This parade, which at its height attracted over 1,200 animals, was founded in 1904 and has taken place every Easter since then, except for wartime postponements. Nowadays, it’s been amalgamated with the even older Cart Horse Parade to form the Harness Horse Parade.

Horses and other working animals have played a simply huge role in our history. In times of war, vast numbers suffered and many paid the ultimate price. A few years ago, the Animals in War Memorial was unveiled in London’s Hyde Park. It’s deeply moving and a stark reminder of the sheer scale of animal use just a few decades ago.

Things weren’t much easier for working animals in peacetime London. I’ll come back to horse transport another day.

One thought on “Horsing around on Easter Monday

  1. Peter Turvey

    I rember my uncle (died a few years ago at the age of 95) telling us how, as a child his friend’s parents worked to groom horses for this parade, and how they would all go to see them. Clearly a highlight of the year. I guess these must have been London & North Western Railway horses, as my grandfather was storesman at Willesden Junction Loco shed back then.

    Reply

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