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Jayne Bradley’s Obituary by Jane Muntz-Torres

 At the beginning of August 2015, The Black Country lost one of its own….. Jayne Bradley… who was born, had lived and died near Brierley Hill.   Although still young at 55 years of age, she had never really recovered her health after being rolled on by her beloved Clydesdale, Prince in 2007……… He had come racing across his field, skidded in the mud at the gateway and rolled into Jayne:  she was severely injured and was to be on crutches for the rest of her life.   At first, she tried everything to repair the damage but the area in question was too near her spinal column and the various surgeons were more than reluctant to operate and maybe even make the situation worse. 

Jayne had previously worked at The Black Country Museum in Dudley as head horse person.  Prince went with her when she started at the Museum in 1998.  In the beginning, she also worked with William, the Shire, and Ben, the pit pony. When asked what it was like to work there, she explained that the staff are expected to play the part of ordinary folk set in a time when our great grandparents were around.   She had to dress as the Victorians did and everything had to be done as it would have been 100 years ago.  It was at the Museum that Prince was taught to pull a boat for the BBC for one of the Fred Dibnah series:  she told me they had spent two days training Prince to take small steps to get the boat to move off slowly.  However, when the series came out, all you saw was Prince’s legs walking along the tow path in the opening credits – blink and you missed it!   Prince wore traditional boat horse gears, belonging to the museum, for the filming.   Prince was described in The Black Country Bugle as “A bostin Black Country boat ‘oss” and his fame led them both to various horse boating events at Dudley, Parkhead, Netherton, Nine Locks and Coombes Wood.   Jayne joined the Horseboating Society and became a very enthusiastic Midlands rep.  After leaving The Black Country Museum, Jayne spent a short time working at Glasshouse College as their Horse Care Tutor and, of course, Prince went with her; they were working with Special Needs teenagers.  Unfortunately, after only four months, Jayne (and Prince), were made redundant due to a lack of government funding.

Jayne was one of the Founder members of The Midlands Heavy Horse Association in 1993.  She and her husband, Alan, were always very welcoming; she was invariably the first person you would meet at ‘working weekends’ with a smile and asking if you would like a ‘cup of tea’?   Her knowledge of working horses, and boat horses in particular, was boundless and her experience was second to none. She used to be a regular contributor to The Whisperer and Heavy Horse World producing interesting reports on horseboating.  I feel extremely fortunate to have known Jayne for so many years and to have learnt so many horseboating skills under her instruction.  I now own Jayne’s horse boating harness and will endeavour to continue her good work.  She will be greatly missed.

 

Jayne Bradley with Prince at The Parkhead Canal Festival.