Milkman Keith’s Other Customers – Shire Horses

Shire Horse Olivia with Keith Harper
Shire Horse Olivia with Keith Harper

KEITH Harper has been a milkman around Hillsborough for 40 years – but that’s not his only commitment.

For 30 years, he has been keeping shire horses, winning shows around the country.

He has taken champions to the Royal Show, the North Show, Cheshire County, Derby County and Bakewell, and most recently notched second place at the Yorkshire Show with horse called Bradworth Olivia, a name reflecting grazing land in both Bradfield and Dungworth.

“I’ve always been interested,” said Keith, aged 65, who lives in Dungworth, and looks after the horses with his son Paul, aged 40.

“Some people buy and sell them, but it’s just a hobby for me.”

He has had about 20 horses over the 30 years, and usually has around five at any one time.

“They usually live up to their reputations as gentle giants but can be a handful.

Meanwhile, showtime heightens the tension for their owner. “It’s like going to a cup final.

“The adrenalin is there and you are hoping to win.”

One memorable moment came a couple of years ago at the Royal Show when Charles and Camilla came across to shake Paul’s hand.

Keith added: “To keep them in show condition, you have got to be with them all the time.”

As he reaches retirement age, he says he has not yet made up his mind about his work as a milkman. “I keep thinking about it.”