HE HAS pulled his weight for years in the grounds of a former Tudor estate in South Yorkshire. But the keepers of a shire horse called Big Lad are now appealing for others to take up the slack.
The working Clydesdale, a visitor attraction for generations of children, has fallen victim to laminitis, a painful, inflammatory condition of the tissues.
Staff and volunteers at Sheffield’s Manor Lodge are waiting for the results of ultrasound and blood tests to see how serious the illness is, and have launched a campaign to help pay for his medical treatment.
Farm ranger Ethel Worthington said: “We are very sad that Big Lad is ill. He has been part of our team for many years and is much loved by staff, volunteers and the public.
“We are crossing our fingers that it is not so serious, but for now he is on painkillers and antibiotics. He can’t feed on grass so is having to stare longingly at the donkeys Rosie and Lilly as they frolic in the field.”
Working horses like Big Lad were a common sight around Manor Lodge, whose farm had four when it was sold in 1938 to make way for the vast Manor housing estate.