An award-winning rescue horse who inspired one of the giant Kelpie sculptures is retiring to Aberdeenshire.
Baron the Clydesdale was first cared for at the World Horse Welfare’s Rescue and Rehoming Centre at Belwade Farm in Aboyne in 2000, when he was two-years-old.
But six months later, at 140 stone, Baron was re-homed by Glasgow City Council and trained to pull the traditional dray at Pollok Country Park when he was mature enough.
Now, with 14 years experience of giving local school groups, nurseries, chidren with special needs and tourists fun-filled but gentle rides, he will return to Aberdeenshire on Saturday for the Belwade Farm Day.
Baron has won countless competitions at weekend galas including the Reserve Champion Gelding In-hand at the Royal Highland Show, to becoming the focus of a giant horse sculpture in Falkirk known as The Kelpies.
And while families in the north-east may be happy at Baron’s return, Lorraine Clark, head carter at Pollok Country Park, is devastated that her favourite boy is moving on.
She said: “I’m with him all day every day, from mucking him out and giving him a good clean to driving and riding him.
“He’s the horse I like the most and we’ve been through everything together – I backed and trained him when he arrived and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
“I’m really going to miss my number one boy.”
Just like every pair of close friends, there are plenty of embarrassing tales to tell.
Ms Clark said: “One time, I was working with Baron and we were intending to cross a bridge at the park.
“He wasn’t sure about it, but I assumed it was fine. We both went bumbling onto the bridge, and out of nowhere, his whopping great foot broke the bridge.”
The bridge is now affectionately known as Baron Bridge.
Ms Clark added: “It’s doubtful that people will ever forget him, he’s a local celebrity.
“There’s currently signage all over the park to let the kids know the date of Baron’s last day here – they’d be gutted if they missed their chance to say goodbye to him.”
Saturday’s event at Belwade Farm, off the A93 near Kincardine O’Neil, runs from 10.30am to 4pm and attractions will include a craft fair, a fun fair and a musical display ride.
There will be a police horse demonstration, a working dog demonstration and a horse agility competition for Belwade’s equine residents.