Horses in Norfolk and Suffolk


Working horses

The breeds traditionally used for heavy work in Norfolk and Suffolk are the Shire Horse and the Suffolk Punch. These working horses used to be common sights in the landscapes of East Anglia, used not only in farming but also in forestry, and for transporting commodities such as ale from the breweries. Horses were also used for pulling fire engines.  Some small farms still use working horses today: for example, to hoe between vegetable rows, move objects about the farm, and to maintain good pasture. 


Equestrian sports

Horse riding is very popular in the East of England, both as a leisure pursuit and as competitive sports.  Gymnkhana events are where young riders and their horses have to complete various courses to achieve best times. The more advanced event is show jumping, part of a family of equestrian events that also include dressage and eventing.  Race meetings are held at Great Yarmouth and Newmarket, where organised betting also takes place.


Hunting with horses

While foxhunting was made illegal by the last government because of its alleged cruelty to foxes, its supporters continue to meet at annual hunts and argue that it is a necessary part of countryside conservation and wildlife management.  The horses used for fox hunting are called field hunters, usually cross-breeds between draft and thoroughbred horses.