Donation funds new research into Shire horse illnesses

New research into common illnesses affecting Shire horses has been made possible thanks to a donation by members of the Shire horse world.

The University of Liverpool’s Leahurst Equine Hospital in Neston, Wirral, will be conducting a health survey about Shire horses with their owners – after it received a £1,000 donation from members of the North West and Wales Shire Foal Society, which is affiliated to the Shire Horse Society.


Photo: Members of the North West and Wales Shire Foal Society at Leahurst Equine Hospital. From left, Bill Massey, Dr Debbie Archer, of Leahurst Equine Hospital, Jean Pleavin Edge, chairlady of the North West and Wales Shire Foal Society, Alistair King and Terry Pleavin Edge

Jean Pleavin Edge, of the North West and Wales Shire Foal Society, said: “We are delighted to be able to donate this money to the Leahurst Equine Hospital and even more thrilled that it will be put towards researching common conditions such as Sweet Itch, an allergy which causes misery to Shire horses and their owners each year.”

This research will provide evidence-based information about how common certain health conditions are in Shire horses and about the areas that owners of Shire horses want veterinary researchers to focus their efforts on in the future in order to maximise the health and welfare of these horses.

Dr Debbie Archer, of the Leahurst Equine Hospital, said: “Our speciality is in research, so donations like this make it possible to use our expertise to help benefit equine health wherever we can, whether we are looking at thoroughbreds, Shire horses or an overweight Shetland pony – that is what we are here to do.”

The cheque was presented to the staff at the hospital during a short presentation on Wednesday, July 17.

Shire Horse Society logo

The Shire Horse Society is a registered charity, and helps raise much needed funds to support the threatened breed.

It also raises awareness of the breed and aims to promote its future as a working and leisure horse.

The Shire Horse Society is the only charity dedicated to the protection, promotion and improvement of the Shire horse.

Since 1878 the society has been working to protect the breed, which was then known as the Old English Breed of Cart Horse.

For more information about the society and shire horses go to

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