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From rescue centre to celebrity lifestyle and back again (but still a celebrity!) – meet the famous Clydesdale in Aboyne, this June, at the Belwade Farm Fun Day
Baron. That’s it, that’s really all you need to mention in Scotland, and they know who you’re talking about. It’s him, the rescue horse that rose to the stars, literally. [Image, above, shows Head Carter at Pollok Park, Lorraine, with Baron]
Typically tall Clydesdale, Baron, came into World Horse Welfare’s Rescue and Rehoming Centre, Belwade Farm in Aboyne, after the heavy horse charity who were caring for him closed down in 2000. He was only two, but World Horse Welfare could already see he had bags of potential.
Six months later, the big bay boy – now standing at 18.hh and weighing a whopping 894 kilos – was rehomed by Glasgow City Council. When he was mature enough he was trained to pull the traditional dray at Pollok Country Park.
After 14 years of providing local school groups, nurseries, children with special needs and many tourists with fun-filled but gentle rides, Baron has decided that it’s time to park the wheels and put up his hooves. He returns to World Horse Welfare this June 7th at the annual – and increasingly popular – Belwade Farm Fun Day, in Aboyne. [Image, right, shows Lorraine riding the cart which is being pulled by Baron]
Lorraine Clark, Head Carter at Pollok Country Park, has been with Baron from the very beginning and tells us she’s ‘absolutely gutted’ that it’s time to part from ‘her boy’.
She says: “I knew he’d had enough at one of the last shows we went to. Normally he loves being a part of the buzz, but this time I could tell his heart wasn’t in it. It’s as if he was saying: ‘No thanks Lorraine, I’m about done in this job. Next.’ I completely understood his message, because I know him so well, and I knew, it was time for him to retire from his public role.”
His experiences have not been without success – from winning countless competitions at weekend galas including Reserve Champion Gelding In-hand at the Royal Highland Show, to becoming the focus of a giant horse sculpture in Falkirk known as ‘The Kelpies’, standing 100ft-high as part of £40m+ project. [Image, left, shows Baron and Lorraine at the unveiling of 'The Kelpies']
Lorraine and Baron are the closest pair at Pollok Park: “I’m with him all day every day, from mucking him out and giving him a good clean to driving and riding him. He’s the horse I like the most. We’ve been through everything together – I backed and trained him when he arrived and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
"I’m really going to miss my number one boy.”
Just like every best friend pair, they’re armed with embarrassing stories to tell: “One time, I was working with Baron and we were intending to cross a bridge at the park. He wasn’t sure about it, but I assumed it was fine. We both went bumbling onto the bridge, and out of nowhere, his whopping great foot broke the bridge!”
The park subsequently named the bridge after Baron, calling it the Baron Bridge.
“It’s doubtful that people will ever forget him, he’s a local celebrity.
He’s known and loved by everyone around here for his gentle, willing and patient nature. There’s currently signage all over the park to let the kids know the date of Baron’s last day here – they’d be gutted if they missed their chance to say goodbye to him.”
Baron’s days pulling the country park’s cart singly, in pairs, in tandem and unicorn as ‘wheel horse’ (at the back of the cart due to his strength) as well as being the star of static events due his sensible nature, are now coming to an end. [Image, above, shows Lorraine and Baron at The Royal Highland Show]
Make sure the Belwade Farm Fun Day is a date in your diary so that you can meet Baron upon his return. Keep an eye on the horses who are looking for homes because after Baron has been assessed, he may well be up for rehoming!
The event runs from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 7th June in Aboyne, with the first exciting demonstrations starting at 11am.
Attractions include a craft fair, a fun fair and a musical display ride. There will be a variety of displays, including a police horse demonstration, a working dog demonstration, and a horse agility competition for Belwade's equine residents. As well as all of the above, there will of course be plenty of refreshments and lots more fun, games and activities for all the family. [Image, left, shows Baron with Lorraine at his stables in Pollok Park]
Keep an eye on the incredible horses up for rehoming on the charity’s website, every single horse is unique and, as you can see for yourselves, often have the most wonderful talents.