A NEW addition to the team at a 130-year-old tourist attraction is in full training for his upcoming role.
Frosty, a four-year-old Welsh Cob, has started the year-long training needed for his work on the Llangollen Wharf.
After training, he will join six stablemates in taking turns to pull pleasure boats on trips from the wharf through the Dee Valley.
Frosty – who is from Yorkshire – is back in Llangollen after initial training at a stables in Hampshire.
It won’t be until the start of the 2016 summer season that visitors can expect to see him pulling barges along the towpath.
He will be in line to replace one of two older colleagues, 24-year-old Stanley and 23-year-old Geordie, both of whom have been working on the canal for 20 years.
Steve Furniss, owner of Welsh Canal Holiday Craft, which runs the trips from Llangollen Wharf, said: “It all hinges on the horse. They’ve got to be totally reliable when working along the towpath.
“Some horses we train in-house and some we send away to be trained – and Frosty has just got back from Hampshire."
He added: “He’s a big softie and he likes lots of fuss. He’s coming along really well. We’re pleased with how he's going."
Mr Furniss added that finding horses the right size can be difficult as they need enough power to pull the barges but also need to be small enough to get under the towpath’s many overhead bridges.
“Heavy horses for doing what we do are quite hard to come by.
“We’ve got to get them a particular size, somewhere between 14.2 to 15.2 hands high.”
The team of horses work throughout the summer, taking visitors on 45-minute trips on a mile-long route towards Berwyn, and a two-hour long journey to the Hand Hotel and back.
Mr Furniss added: “We’ve been here for more than 130 years now – I feel like a custodian here.”
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