Six years ago, international concert violinist Gabriela Demeterova attended the world’s largest gathering of Shire horses and met the man who would go on to become her husband.
Next month, she’ll be returning to the Shire Horse Society’s National Show, which this year takes place at Staffordshire Showground, to perform at the society’s annual dinner.
Gabriela said: “I was honoured to be asked to perform at the annual dinner. I want to do as much as possible to help protect and save the Shire horse breed. It will also be nice to play for my friends.”
Love blossomed for Shire horse owner Steve Ledsham and Gabriela after they were introduced at the national show in 2013. A few parcels, emails and letters were exchanged before Steve popped the question and they married in Gabriela’s hometown of Prague.
Now the couple, who live near Church Stretton in Shropshire, will be marking the sixth anniversary of their meeting when they attend the show this year, which runs from 22nd to 24th March at Bingley Hall.
Steve hopes to show horses in three categories at the event, while Gabriela will be giving an exclusive performance at the annual dinner on 22nd March.
The National show is the flagship event for the Shire Horse Society, which has been working to protect the breed since 1878 and is the only charity that is dedicated to the protection, promotion and improvement of the Shire horse.
Open to the public and featuring a range of trade stands, plus a food hall, the event is the chance to see the gentle giants of the horse world in all their finery.
Competitors travel from across the UK and Europe to compete in the event.
Steve and Gabriela both have a passion for horses as well as classical music. Gabriela is an international concert violinist who has performed across the globe, while Liverpudlian Steve shows his horses around the UK and works with museums to recreate what life would have been like when Shires were frequent on the streets and ploughing the fields.
Steve said: “I have no horse background. One day I went along to a horse sale and saw a Shire foal that I had to have, then my love for horses just carried on from there, and now I’ve been around horses for about 40 years!”
Gabriela admires Steve for all his hard work and says it’s her dream to be able to showcase her love for music as well as horses.
“Since coming to the UK and travelling and showing our horses, I’m not the star, Steve is and I’m his support act,” she added.
Shire Horse Society secretary Victoria Clayton said: “Steve and Gabriela met at the Shire Horse Society National Show six years ago, and we are delighted that she has agreed to give us a special, exclusive performance at our show dinner.”
The show starts at 8:30am on Friday 22nd March 2019 (Saturday and Sunday 8am) and closes at approximately 5pm on Sunday 24th March (6pm close on Saturday). A grand parade and stable tours take place on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for a discounted rate here: http://bit.ly/2APWimn or on the gate. Shire Horse Society members gain free admission as well as under 5s.
The Annual Dinner takes place on the first night of the show, Friday 22nd March 2019. Both members and non-members are welcome to attend and enjoy a three-course meal accompanied by Gabriela’s music! Tickets can be purchased by completing a booking form on the website: www.shire-horse.org.uk/annual-dinner/ringside-hospitality.
For more information please visit: www.shire-horse.org.uk/national-show.