Working Shire Horses On London’s Hampstead Heath

It is surprising to discover there are still working horses in London, but that’s exactly what Operation Centaur do.

Joey and William are Shire horses; an enormous, powerful breed of horse whose lineage can be traced back centuries.

They are easily recognisable from the long hair, called feathers, around their feet.

Whilst their ancestors would of carried knights into battle, they are far better known for pulling farm equipment and heavy wagons.

Hampstead Heath

On 6th March 2022, Head Horseman Tom Nixon guided shire horses Joey and William dragging a farrow across Hampstead Heath. The farrow was being used to level up the grass along the cross country running course which had been turned into a sloppy mud quagmire by thousands of runners.


The farrow was dragged by the shire horses across the muddy ground, pockmarked with thousands of footprints. The chains levelled the ground leaving a smooth surface for the grass to grow back on. It is a very environmentally friendly way of looking after the ground without using heavy machinery.

Operation Centaur’s shire horses can be found working all over London.

Picture Gallery

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