A beloved draught horse who starred in TV shows and won a number of trophies and rosettes has sadly died.

Commander, a Clydesdale horse that has worked at the Hook Norton Brewery since 2019, died after a short illness on Saturday night.

A spokesperson for the brewery said: “He was a larger-than-life horse, with the gentlest of hearts and cheekiest of characters.

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“A friend and colleague with a CV which no horse will ever beat.

“He was an iconic TV star appearing alongside Pam Ayres, inspiring her to pen a poem, and transporting Martin Clunes at The Horse of the Year Show.

“A winner of hearts with all that he met, be that at village fetes, outside local pubs or gracing the grounds of Blenheim Palace.

“He was a recent show ring superstar winning numerous trophies and rosettes, all proudly displayed at the brewery.”

Hook Norton Brewery is now one of only three breweries in the UK with working, delivering Shire Horses.

The breed remains at critical risk of extinction, with their numbers declining due to no longer having a use in agricultural work.

The Shire Horse Society aims to spread awareness and promote the breed, striving to ensure their survival for future years to come.

Hook Norton Brewery has recently achieved the accolade of ‘Shire Horse Society Approved Centre’ status, meeting a rigorous set criteria ensuring their stables conform to the highest of standards.

The team on site are working in unison with the society to support and raise awareness of these animals.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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