Pembrokeshire’s magnificent Gentle Giants have won one of the great accolades in the horse world after being named by the British Horse Society as the Unsung Heroes of 2023.

John Fletcher and his daughter, Stacy Vaughan, travelled to Newbury Racecourse on Thursday, November 9, where the award ceremony took place, led by BSH Ambassador Lizzie Green-Hughes.

“The first I knew of it was when I got an email saying we’d been shortlisted,” said John, just hours after returning home to their farm at Penrallt Uchaf in Moylegrove.

“It seems that we were nominated by one of our followers who’s involved with the British Horse Society so it was a huge honour for us and a great day for our shires.”

The Gentle Giants Shires were selected winners as a result of the outstanding contribution they give to the equestrian industry but also to the communities in which they operate.

The team are regularly seen supporting local agricultural shows throughout Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion as well as adding dignity to weddings, funerals and agricultural and equestrian demonstrations.

“It’s all about promoting the shire horse and educating people about them,” explained John. “We actively encourage young people with special needs to come and work with us to help them gain an understanding of the breed and one of our special needs helpers has recently gone on to a full-time college course.”

During their visit to Newbury Racecourse, John and Stacy were invited to watch the day’s races from the Royal Box as well as judge the best turned out horse and present the prize to top trainer Nicky Henderson.

The British Horse Society's Unsung Hero award is for individuals who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to their local equestrian community.

““We are passionate about celebrating the impact we can make, both as individuals and as a community, and we are truly grateful for the valuable contribution made by these people and organisations” commented the British Horse Society.

“The Awards are our way of ensuring that volunteers receive the appreciation and recognition they deserve.”