Operation Centaur - Heritage Skills

Shire Horse Society 'Approved Visitor Centre'

Shire Horse Society

Operation Centaur has been designated an ‘Approved Visitor Centre’ by the Shire Horse Society. The accolade provides recognition that Operation Centaur promotes the breed, protects the heritage and provides opportunities for learning about these magnificent working horses.

Shire horses are a breed under threat. For centuries this loyal horse has served; fearlessly taking troops into war, tirelessly working the land, and transporting goods the length and breadth of this country. Whilst there are still some traditional roles available for Shires, they have had to adapt to stay relevant.

Operation Centaur works with Shire horses in four different areas: conservation, heritage, wellbeing and community. Conservation work includes grass mowing and bracken control. Heritage is preserved through carriage rides where people learn about the history of the Shire and experience them hands-on.

A more contemporary use of the Shire is as a therapy horse. Because of their gentle nature they are excellent horses to work in a therapeutic or learning setting. The Shires have worked with young people diagnosed with autism in Richmond Park and have also helped delivered a anti-bullying intervention programme in Hyde Park.

The Shire Horse Society is very excited about the prospects and future working with Operation Centaur and the Royal Parks. After many months of discussions plans are now being made to make the most of this new partnership for the greater good of the Shire horse. The Society looks forward to a long and productive relationship with the team at Operation Centaur.David Ralley-Davies, Shire Horse Society
Since the breweries closed their stables, our herd of Shires is now the last working herd in London. Working Shire horses in the Royal Parks and Historic Royal Palaces give Londoners an opportunity to meet these gentle giants and see real horse power in action. We’re proud to be recognized by the Society for our part in keeping the breed in existence.Edward MacDowell - Head Coachman, Operation Centaur
Richmond Park has a long history with working horses. The Royal Parks have staunchly championed the Shire horse since they were re-introduced in the early 90s, following a hiatus after WWII. They are now again an integral part of the Royal Parks. Using Shire horses is a sustainable way to manage parkland. Not only are they are offering a much-loved service to London’s landscapes, it totally makes sense environmentally and economically.Adam Curtis, Assistant Park Manager, The Royal Parks

About the Shire Horse Society
The Shire Horse Society (Patron: HM The Queen) has been working to protect the breed since 1878. Over the years the Society has worked hard to ensure that the breed continues to grow and to maintain interest in these magnificent horses.

About Richmond Park
Richmond Park was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. The largest of London’s Royal Parks, the park is a National Nature Reserve, London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.

Operation Centaur, Holly Lodge, Richmond Park, Richmond, Surrey TW10 5HS
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In partnership with The Royal Parks, Historic Royal Palaces and  Shire Horse Society