There are currently twenty one horses (twenty geldings and one filly), of which fifteen have been fully trained to operate the service. The remaining six are young horses or horses in training. The older horses are Shire or Clydesdale crosses, bred by Douglas Borough Council. The breeding programme was introduced when it was found that over the winter of 1973 / 74, the cost of purchasing horses was almost double that of the previous year. At the start of 1974, at least five mares (‘Ann’, ‘Fanny’, ‘Debbie’, ‘Caroline’ and ‘Joyce’) were in foal. It was ‘Caroline’ (aged ten at the time), who provided the tramway with the first foal, sired by a farm horse from Balnahowe in Braddan. It was born on the morning of the 31st August 1974. The new arrival (pictured below at one day old), was named 'Ballacloan Thorn Tree' by the children at the new Ballacloan School in Douglas, and Thorn Tree Primary School in Glasgow. The horses are now purchased as youngsters, from the local Ballafayle Stud, situated in Maughold. They start training when they are approximately four years old, and can have a working life of about twenty years, depending on health and other factors.
In the summer the horses are kept in the stables at the bottom of Summerhill. They work for one hour and twenty minutes a day (two hours at the most). Each return journey takes around forty minutes. With the recently revised timetable they have more days off in any given week than in previous years, and this is adjusted for each individual horse. They consume large amounts of hay or haylage, are fed morning and evening on brewers grains and rolled oats and have access to a salt and mineral lick, and any necessary supplements. They are regularly wormed, re-shod and during the annual vaccinations and vet check, have their teeth checked and rasped if necessary. Also in the summer, a few of the horses appear at the two local agricultural shows. The remaining months are spent at grass (at various locations around the island), where they are checked and given supplementary feeding as necessary until the season starts again. Some of the horses take part in local ploughing matches during the winter months. On reaching retirement, they spend the rest of their life being cared for at the Isle of Man Home of Rest for Old Horses on Richmond Hill. The first ever ‘trammer’ to retire to the home in 1954 was 'Bunny'.
‘Ballacloan Thorn Tree’ Photo  Brian Mitchell
Horsepower! Photo  www.douglashorsetramway.net Introduction A brief insight into the history and varied working life of a Douglas tram horse.
‘Raad tram-cabbil baie ghoolish’
“….tinkling tramcars, like toast racks, Sweeping the curve of the bay.” (Sir Hall Caine)
The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
There are currently twenty one horses (twenty geldings and one filly), of which fifteen have been fully trained to operate the service. The remaining six are young horses or horses in training. The older horses are Shire or Clydesdale crosses, bred by Douglas Borough Council. The breeding programme was introduced when it was found that over the winter of 1973 / 74, the cost of purchasing horses was almost double that of the previous year. At the start of 1974, at least five mares (‘Ann’, ‘Fanny’, ‘Debbie’, ‘Caroline’ and ‘Joyce’) were in foal. It was ‘Caroline’ (aged ten at the time), who provided the tramway with the first foal, sired by a farm horse from Balnahowe in Braddan. It was born on the morning of the 31st August 1974. The new arrival (pictured below at one day old), was named 'Ballacloan Thorn Tree' by the children at the new Ballacloan School in Douglas, and Thorn Tree Primary School in Glasgow. The horses are now purchased as youngsters, from the local Ballafayle Stud, situated in Maughold. They start training when they are approximately four years old, and can have a working life of about twenty years, depending on health and other factors.
In the summer the horses are kept in the stables at the bottom of Summerhill. They work for one hour and twenty minutes a day (two hours at the most). Each return journey takes around forty minutes. With the recently revised timetable they have more days off in any given week than in previous years, and this is adjusted for each individual horse. They consume large amounts of hay or haylage, are fed morning and evening on brewers grains and rolled oats and have access to a salt and mineral lick, and any necessary supplements. They are regularly wormed, re-shod and during the annual vaccinations and vet check, have their teeth checked and rasped if necessary. Also in the summer, a few of the horses appear at the two local agricultural shows. The remaining months are spent at grass (at various locations around the island), where they are checked and given supplementary feeding as necessary until the season starts again. Some of the horses take part in local ploughing matches during the winter months. On reaching retirement, they spend the rest of their life being cared for at the Isle of Man Home of Rest for Old Horses on Richmond Hill. The first ever ‘trammer’ to retire to the home in 1954 was 'Bunny'.
‘Ballacloan Thorn Tree’ Photo  Brian Mitchell
Horsepower! Photo  www.douglashorsetramway.net Introduction A brief insight into the history and varied working life of a Douglas tram horse.
“….tinkling tramcars, like toast racks, Sweeping the curve of the bay.” (Sir Hall Caine)
The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Raad tram-cabbil baie ghoolish
There are currently twenty one horses (twenty geldings and one filly), of which fifteen have been fully trained to operate the service. The remaining six are young horses or horses in training. The older horses are Shire or Clydesdale crosses, bred by Douglas Borough Council. The breeding programme was introduced when it was found that over the winter of 1973 / 74, the cost of purchasing horses was almost double that of the previous year. At the start of 1974, at least five mares (‘Ann’, ‘Fanny’, ‘Debbie’, ‘Caroline’ and ‘Joyce’) were in foal. It was ‘Caroline’ (aged ten at the time), who provided the tramway with the first foal, sired by a farm horse from Balnahowe in Braddan. It was born on the morning of the 31st August 1974. The new arrival (pictured below at one day old), was named 'Ballacloan Thorn Tree' by the children at the new Ballacloan School in Douglas, and Thorn Tree Primary School in Glasgow. The horses are now purchased as youngsters, from the local Ballafayle Stud, situated in Maughold. They start training when they are approximately four years old, and can have a working life of about twenty years, depending on health and other factors.
In the summer the horses are kept in the stables at the bottom of Summerhill. They work for one hour and twenty minutes a day (two hours at the most). Each return journey takes around forty minutes. With the recently revised timetable they have more days off in any given week than in previous years, and this is adjusted for each individual horse. They consume large amounts of hay or haylage, are fed morning and evening on brewers grains and rolled oats and have access to a salt and mineral lick, and any necessary supplements. They are regularly wormed, re-shod and during the annual vaccinations and vet check, have their teeth checked and rasped if necessary. Also in the summer, a few of the horses appear at the two local agricultural shows. The remaining months are spent at grass (at various locations around the island), where they are checked and given supplementary feeding as necessary until the season starts again. Some of the horses take part in local ploughing matches during the winter months. On reaching retirement, they spend the rest of their life being cared for at the Isle of Man Home of Rest for Old Horses on Richmond Hill. The first ever ‘trammer’ to retire to the home in 1954 was 'Bunny'.
‘Ballacloan Thorn Tree’ Photo  Brian Mitchell Horsepower! Photo  www.douglashorsetramway.net Introduction A brief insight into the history and varied working life of a Douglas tram horse.
‘Raad tram-cabbil baie ghoolish’
“….tinkling tramcars, like toast racks, Sweeping the curve of the bay.” (Sir Hall Caine)
The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway