Rare falconry demonstration on the hoof!

PUBLISHED: 13:11 18 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:43 20 February 2013

Rare falconry demonstration on the hoof!

Rare falconry demonstration on the hoof!

Two new members of 'staff' have been causing something of a stir at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, near Andover. Murphy is an Irish Draught horse standing at 17.2 hands high, whilst Samson, a Shire Cross, stands at a massive 18.2 hands high.

Rare falconry demonstration on the hoof!


Two new members of staff have been causing something of a stir at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, near Andover. Murphy is an Irish Draught horse standing at 17.2 hands high, whilst Samson, a Shire Cross, stands at a massive 18.2 hands high. Both horses have been employed as part of a daily historical re-enactment which sees a mounted falconry display and staff dressed in medieval costume.


Chief Executive Officer, Ashley Smith, said we are always trying to find ways to educate our visitors in as entertaining a way as possible. This new display, which is set to music, demonstrates the partnerships which existed between man, horse and falcon. We also include other characters such the maiden with her merlin and the cadgeman, from which the name caddy and old codger comes from. Hawks & Horses is a highly choreographed display and we have been rehearsing and training for months. Now we are ready for our visitors to see the finished display and I certainly hope that they approve!


The display requires a high level of equitation and falconry skills as the birds and horses are moving at speed. There is also a huge element of trust and synchronisation between the participants as they recreate a scene that would have been common in times gone by. The task of training the hawks and horses fell to Assistant Curator, Jimmy Robinson.


Jimmy, who had to choose between a career in horse-riding or falconry as a lad, explains, its great to finally be able to combine my two favourite occupations horse-riding and falconry! Our birds of prey responded really well to the training and Samson and Murphy were really quick on the up-take too. Once upon a time falconry from horseback would have been a fairly common sight in the countryside. But now the Hawk Conservancy Trust is one of the only places in the country where you will see it.


For more information please contact:


Gale Gould


Marketing Manager


HAWK CONSERVANCY TRUST


Visitor Centre, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire SP11 8DY


Tel: 01264 773850 x223


Mobile: 0788 079 7211


Email: gale@hawkconservancy.org


The Hawk Conservancy Trust is a conservation charity and award winning visitor centre, located near Andover, Hampshire, that has for many years worked in the fields of conservation, education, rehabilitation and the research of birds of prey, both in the UK and overseas.


Set in 22 acres of woodland and wildflower meadow, there are over 150 birds of prey on view, from the tiny Pygmy Owl to the impressive Stellers Sea Eagles! Many of these birds are involved in three spectacular daily flying demonstrations, whilst others are part of important breeding or environmental enrichment projects.


Conservation is an important feature of the Trusts mission. It was the first organisation to breed and release Red Kites back to the wild; runs the Fund-a-Bird nest box adoption project for Barn Owls, Tawny Owls, Little Owls and Kestrels; receives over 200 young, sick or injured birds of prey each year, which are treated in the Trusts specialist hospital and rehabilitation aviaries; and has projects concerned with vulture conservation in Africa and Pakistan.


Visitors to the Trust are offered three daily flying demonstrations, including Hawks & Horses, that enable the participants to get closer to the birds in a more intimate setting; as well as extra activities and events during school holidays and weekends, including tractor rides, duck racing and ferret racing! There are opportunities for every visitor to hold a British bird of prey, such as a Barn Owl, Tawny Owl or Harris Hawk.


The Trust is also home to the UKs only public Great Bustard enclosure. Special events include Owls by Moonlight, Flying Experience/Photographic Days, plus a Raptor Experience & Bustard Safari. Gift Vouchers available.


The Trust has fully catered corporate facilities that make a unique setting for private functions and parties. There is a Coffee Shop and Trust Shop on site, plus ample free parking, with designated disabled spaces. Coaches Welcome. The Hawk Conservancy Trust is open all year round and only closes Christmas Day and Boxing Day. For more information contact 01264 773850, email info@hawkconservancy.org or visit www.hawkconservancy.org.


For more information please contact:


Gale Gould


Marketing Manager


HAWK CONSERVANCY TRUST


Visitor Centre, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire SP11 8DY


Tel: 01264 773850 x223


Mobile: 0788 079 7211


Email: gale@hawkconservancy.org

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