Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 401

Shire Horses


Hello Everyone



Every year in Rocky Bay, there is an agricultural show on one of Farmer Jenkins’ fields.


Many farmers come from far and wide to show off their best animals to try and win prizes.


There are also lots of side stalls with plenty of goods to buy.


Everyone in town looks forward to going, and plenty of the tourists on holiday in Rocky Bay find it interesting too.


There are large animals like bulls paraded around a show ring and lots of smaller animals in pens like sheep and goats that children can go and look at.


The goats are always cheeky and the sheep are always timid.


There is always a gymkhana as well, which takes the form of horses and ponies jumping over fences in an arena.  The competitors are usually people from this area and they bring their own horses in boxes which are parked over at the back of the field before the show is formally opened by the mayor.


Farmer Jenkins can’t put his own animals on the field for quite a few weeks after all those animals, people and vehicles have been all over it; but it is all worth it for the money he makes from staging the show.


The most magnificent animals on show have to be the Shire horses.


Shires are the largest and tallest horses in the world.


They were especially bred to be as big as they are.  They are very strong too, but surprisingly gentle for their size; and importantly, they like working with people.


Henry Vlll first bred them back in the 16th century.


He wanted to create a warhorse that was sturdy enough to carry a knight in full armour and take him into battle.


That is when he started breeding the Shires.


When gunpowder started to be used in cannons on the battlefield, Shires were no longer needed as steeds for knights.  Lighter, faster horses were used by troops from then on.


With their enormous strength and calm nature, the Shires transferred well from the Tudor battle fields to the growing fields on farms.


They can pull up to three tonnes and sometimes much more, so were perfect for pulling ploughs through rough and stony ground or logs through forests. 


ln the cities, they pulled carts filled with heavy barrels, crates or furniture.


They are what is known as a draught horse. 


Oxen were also used for ploughing on farms.


The combustion engine took the horses’ and oxen’s work away from them, and they were replaced by tractors and lorries.


These vehicles don’t need to be fed and watered every day of the year, but they don’t produce new, little replacements every year either, like horses can.


You can tell just by looking at the Shires, that they are bred for strength.  They have thick legs and powerful bodies.  They have shaggy fur over their large hooves.  This distinctive, characteristic fur is called feathers.


At one time, there were over a million Shire horses working around the country but now their numbers have dwindled to only a few thousand.


But, luckily, there are many enthusiasts dedicated to the preservation of these magnificent beasts.  They are now rarer than pandas.


Horses do a good job in small green spaces of cities where machinery would churn up the ground.  They do well on steep slopes and between trees in forests where large tractors would have trouble manoeuvring.


Some breweries like to use them to pull delivery carts because they are so noticeable on the street they attract attention, and that is good advertising.


They are still used on many thousands of farms in America and in Scandinavia.  Many Shires were exported to America in the late 1800s.


They can reproduce and add more horses to the workforce.  And they don’t cause pollution.  Their dung is useful to enrich soil which helps to make it more fertile.  That is all very eco-friendly.


Some people enjoy riding on Shires too.  They must get a very good view from being that high up!



lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill:  Where do racehorses go out to eat?


Bob:  l don’t know.  Where do racehorses go out to eat?


Bill:  A fast food restaurant!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery


A halter put on a broad chest –

And then chained to a plough


Attracting more love than any lorry


Shire horses are rarer than pandas







This week, Miss Pringle took her class over to the park for a nature ramble.

They put on their high-viz jackets and Mrs McNamara came too.  Even though the class was quite small, Miss Pringle wanted to take another adult with her to help supervise the children.

They did not go far into the woods.  They only walked along the edge.

The children collected seeds and nuts and berries that took their eye and any especially pretty leaves that they saw too.  There were plenty of opportunities to find them.

Miss Pringle took the children back to the classroom when they started to get a bit chilly.  But they had already collected lots of specimens that they needed to set up a nature table.



Miss Pringle helped the children identify the seeds and berries they had collected and they wrote labels for their best finds.  These were placed over the large table at the back of the classroom.

Miss Pringle said that if the leaves were left as they were, they would turn brown and all the lovely colours would fade in no time.

You can press leaves like you can press flowers, but they will not retain (keep) their colour like flowers do.

Miss Pringle had another project in mind for the leaves.

First of all, she told the children to choose their best leaf.

She told them to draw around the leaf carefully on one side of a sheet of white paper and then colour in all the coloured veins and patches with their colouring pencils.  They would have to look at the leaf carefully to copy it exactly onto paper.

When the children had done this task, they took their leaves up to Miss Pringle and she showed small groups of children how they could preserve the leaves by soaking them in glycerin.

First, they should snip just the ends of stalks off. 



This was so that the leaf could take the glycerin up into itself and fill up all the little channels that they could easily see inside it with the mixture.

Miss Pringle had bought lots of tiny bottles of glycerin from the baking section of the Rocky Bay Supermarket.

She had some shallow glass dishes and tipped 2 bottle of glycerin into the dish and then washed each one out twice with water from the tap.

That meant that she had double the amount of water that she had of glycerin.

Miss Pringle put a few leaves into each dish and then she weighted them down with plates that she had borrowed from the canteen, making sure that each leaf was fully covered and most importantly that the ends of the stalks were in contact with the liquid.

She said that the yellow leaves would probably retain their colour better than the red ones and the children should keep that in mind when they made their choices.

The children all washed their hands carefully before they went home.

The leaves were left in their glycerin baths over the weekend and pulled out carefully to be dried on sheets of kitchen paper on Monday afternoon.

The children then stuck their leaves down onto the other side of their sheets of paper to create a double image of their leaves on their pieces of paper.

Miss Pringle had put a few extra leaves into a bath and used them to make a decoration on a notice board near the classroom door.

The leaves looked like they were tumbling down the wall – just as though they had just fallen off a tree.  They really looked very pretty.








Recipe Spot


lf you buy a big pumpkin to hollow out for Halloween, you won’t want to waste the insides because of course they can be eaten.

They seeds can be dried or roasted in a low heat.

The flesh can be made into a soup.  But pumpkin flesh doesn’t taste of much on its own, so you will need to add some other ingredients.

You will also need a very large saucepan to put all your ingredients in.

Put a little oil into the bottom and fry 2 diced onions gently until they are clear




4 large carrots (sliced)

1 large potato (diced)

1 clove garlic (crushed)

All your pumpkin flesh

1 litre stock (water with a stock cube)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon nutmeg


Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes


Leave to cool


Put in a liquidizer


When the soup is smooth put it back in the saucepan and start warming it up again




100g of grated cheese

½ pint of milk


Taste your soup


As a chef you will need to decide if the taste is alright.


Have a little taste on a teaspoon.


Do you need to add more salt?


Do you need to add more water to make the soup a little thinner?


Would you like to add more cheese?


Would you like to add a pinch of curry powder to make it spicier?


Or more garlic to give the taste more depth?


Or more pepper to give it more heat?


When the soup is put into bowls you can add a tiny sprinkle of chopped parsley and roasted pumpkin seeds to the top to make it look special, or even a tiny swirl of double cream as well.







lt’s the Weekend!




If your doll has a horse, she will spend a lot of time looking after it.

One of the very important jobs to be done is to muck out the stables and put down fresh bedding.

She will look stylish doing any job in these lovely dungarees.

If you make them in dark blue, they will look like blue denim but these grey ones look really nice too.



Using 4mm knitting needles and grey dk yarn cast on 18 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Knit 34 rows of stocking stitch

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 4 rows of stocking stitch

Knit 4 rows of stocking stitch

Change to 3¾mm knitting needles

Knit 4 rows of 1×1 rib

Cast off



Using 4mm knitting needles and grey dk yarn cast on 10 stitches

Knit 1 row

Knit 2 purl 6 knit 2

Repeat the last 2 rows 5 times

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



  1. Using over-sew stitching and with right sides together sew the front and back of the top of the trousers together and then sew the inside leg seams
  2. Embroider a motif like an initial or a heart onto the bib
  3. Attach the bib to the front of the top of the trousers using over-sew stitching with right sides together
  4. Crochet 20 chains into a length of yarn twice and attach these straps to the top corners of the bib and cross them over before you attach them to the back of the trousers



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



And people helping a horse out of a big puddle after he fell in and got stuck

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