HORSE-LOVERS are urged to canter along to the region’s open-air heritage museum this weekend for an equine extravaganza.

Fifty horses and an array of horse-drawn vehicles will be on show at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, near Stanley, County Durham.

The museum’s Horses at Work event, tomorrow and on Sunday, will feature pit ponies, elegant carriage horses and heavy horses, ranging from Irish Draughts and Friesians, to Shires and Clydesdales.

There will be a colourful parade on both days, while visitors will have the chance to take a trip on a variety of horse-drawn vehicles, including two late 1800s London omnibuses.

Some of the equine stars will perform in displays, but there will also be the opportunity to meet the site’s pit ponies and take part in several fun, family activities.

Paul Foster, Beamish’s historic events officer at Beamish, said: “Horses at Work will bring together a unique line-up of 50 horses and horse-drawn vehicles, including two Victorian omnibuses.

“We’re looking forward to an exciting weekend, with lots to see and do!”

The theme for this year’s Horses at Work weekend is homecoming, reflecting the transition from conflict and the return to peacetime after the end of the First World War.

During the weekend there will be the chance to see members of the Durham Pals brigade arriving back at Rowley Station with a celebratory homecoming parade.

Led by the Borneo Band, and featuring an Armstrong Whitworth replica car, soldiers and several horse-drawn vehicles, the parade will travel from Rowley Station to the museum’s 1900s Town, at 1pm each day.

A welcome home speech will be given outside the Masonic Hall to mark the troops return.

Visitors will be able to find out more about the North-East War Memorials project, with a display in The 1900s Town’s Bank Board Room, on Sunday.

In the 1900s Pit Village, the 16th Lancers Cavalry Unit will be on parade, while pit ponies can be seen demonstrating how tubs of coal were hauled, alongside other harnessed ponies, outside the pit pony stables.

In Hetton Silver Band Hall, visitors can find out more about the work of the Brooke charity, set up in 1930 by Dorothy Brooke to help ex-war horses, and still now dedicated to the welfare of working horses and donkeys.

A pack horse will be on show at the 1820s Pockerley Old Hall, while watch teams of horses will perform field work and land cultivation nearby.

Chris Thompson, Beamish’s keeper of animals and land engagement, said: “During the First World War, horses helped keep the country going on the Home Front, as demonstrated during our Horses at War 2018 event.

“When the war ended, men needed to slot back into society, and horses had to do the same, so this is the story we’ll be telling this year during Horses at Work.”

Admission is covered by the general Beamish entry fee and is free for holders of unlimited passed and Friends of Beamish members.

The museum, just off the A693, is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with further information available via