24 February 2019

The Horses of Mullahead

Yesterday, finally, I managed to make it to Mullahead. Mullahead is a ploughing match that takes place on the final Saturday of every February near Portadown. Started up by my grandfather's uncle, Sandy McCracken, I've always wanted to visit - and so has my dad, who had never been either. We were always flat-out lambing sheep at this time of the year, but this year, since we've held everything back, we had the opportunity to go.

I've heard it said that it always rains on Mullahead but the forecast was promising for yesterday. Halfway there, tiny spits of rain appeared on the windscreen of the Land Rover but we ignored them as it was to be a good afternoon. Shortly after our arrival the rain got a little heavier and stayed on. By the time I made it to the far end of the field and the horses that I had come to see, I was soaked. I took my camera out and snapped a picture...

But the rain was too heavy and my camera was already soaking wet. Thankfully I had a see through plastic bag in my backpack so I could repeat the experiment that I did a few weeks ago and waterproofed my camera.

Despite the rain, the ploughing was in full swing. With the rattle of the tractors in the background, the silent, hardworking horses had their competition.

Even though this photo is slightly blurry, I still like it. The rain was heavy enough to confuse my autofocus into focusing on rain droplets sometimes.

I also had to keep wiping the water droplets off my lens or I'd get this misty look.

A pair of Cobs executing a turn at the end of a furrow. Thanks to their nameplates I know one is Sam and one is called Bob.

At the far edge of the horse ploughing area was this absolutely beautiful pair of grey Shires. I had never seen grey Shires in person before but I fell in love, judging by how many pictures I took of them.

Discussing a plan of action for the next furrow.

A gorgeous pair of Clydesdales.

Those Shires again...

Waiting patiently while adjustments are made.

Getting in line.

By now the rain had gotten even heavier and yes, I had worn wellies, but I also had turned up in a fleece. I was a sponge. The horse teams kept going but you can see the rain drops in the photographs now.

The competing horses get a good look at each other on the turns.

It was warm, damp work for everyone.

Some people hadn't bothered to dress their horses up, but these two looked show stopping.

I love the black sock on this Clydesdale.

The eventual fourth place winners finishing a furrow.

A close-up of one of the Cobs.

After the rain got even heavier I decided to leave. I had one last look over my shoulder at the horses.

And on my way back to the Land Rover I saw a lady and her donkey.

I also thought that I better not leave without taking at least one picture of a tractor, so here you are!

I would have loved to chat to the people with the horses but they all were so busy, I didn't want to bother them. Congratulations to the winners!


  1. I love your pictures of the horses! If only you'd waited for the rain to pass you could have seen the donkeys in action with plough, harrow and turnip sower. A great day was had by all. I'm the 'man' with the donkey! ��

    1. Hello, Lorna! My apologies, I couldn't see you under the sunglasses and hat! Hopefully I can return next year and be properly attired. :)

    2. That's okay Ruth, blame the reactolite lenses. Lol. We're already looking forward to next year. See you then x

  2. Well done for getting some nice pics despite the weather.
    Good to see these heavy horses.
    Those Clydsdales are a handsome pair and the Shires are so majestic,I love them.
    Cute little donkey all tacked up, pity you missed him in action.