Continuing the Clydesdale tradition

Steve Muggeridge's horses will be harvesting wheat the way it was done 100 years ago. Photo / Supplied
Steve Muggeridge's horses will be harvesting wheat the way it was done 100 years ago. Photo / Supplied

Steve Muggeridge can't remember a time in his life, when it didn't revolve around Clydesdale horses.

His late father always owned them and had them on his rural property. Then Muggeridge continued the family tradition and now owns 11 horses based on a station on the outskirts of the wine village of Martinborough in the Wairarapa … you could say they're a lifelong passion.

"Clydesdales are a lovely horse. Generally they have a very good nature. They are very calm and are great for New Zealand conditions because they are strong, active and good workers," he says. "Each of our 11 horses has its own personality and I'm fond of them all."

Muggeridge and his Clydesdales will attend February's Wairarapa Vintage Machinery Club's Harvest Rally over Waitangi Weekend. The fun, family-friendly event, held every four years, is being staged at the Clareville Showgrounds near Carterton from February 3-4.

Despite attending many rallies in his lifetime, including the weekend's Turakina Highland Games, Muggeridge admits he never gets tired of seeing the positive reaction from the public about his horses.

"It's always a great response. People see the horses work and how the old farming equipment works and are genuinely interested. There's a lot of nostalgia and history. People just love watching them in action," he says.

Spectators attending the Wairarapa Harvest Rally will be able to see Muggeridge's horses harvest a wheat crop with a Reaper Binder which cuts and binds the stems of wheat into little bundles. When the horses are not harvesting wheat like it was done 100 years ago, members of the public can take a ride with them in an old milk wagon.

"The Reaper binder is fascinating actually as it has a lot of moving parts but it is all ground driven. All the harvest is done by itself - it's an amazing piece of horse drawn equipment. The milk wagon on the other hand used to be belong to my late father. He brought it in Taranaki in 1938 when it was used to transport 25 gallon cans of milk from the dairy factory. It's been in our family a long time and we've recently repainted it in Brunswick Green and Spanish White, so it looks rather smart."

The horses will be part of an action packed two day programme at February's harvest rally. Also on display will be vintage trucks, tractors, stationary engines as well as farming memorabilia from private collections.

The star attraction of the show will be the rare Foden steam lorry, a six ton C-type lorry with a four and a half NHP compound engine. This truck was imported to New Zealand from England in 1925 and was a familiar sight in the Wairarapa for decades. After being show cased in the Gilltrap's Museum and extensively rebuilt and painted bright yellow, it was sold to a private collector in the South Island. It will return to the Wairarapa after a 60-year absence.

In addition to this rare lorry, there will be a showcase of local crafts and at the conclusion of each day, a spectacular grand finale display with vintage fire engines. Food and drinks are also available on site.

Wairarapa Vintage Machinery Club's Harvest Rally
Clareville Showgrounds
Waitangi Weekend – Feb 3rd & 4th 2018
9am – 4pm
Adults $10 Children under 15 free
Free all-day parking
For more information visit

- The Country

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