21 July, 2024

Ken and Dawn Luck

Dawn and Ken with Megan (AGW 2011)

Ken Luck was only 14 years old when he left school in Bransdale and started working with horses on a farm.

Working with horses meant long days  – farm horses had to be fed and groomed before being yoked ready for field work by daybreak. Lunch breaks meant first feeding and watering the horses which were also groomed at the tea-time feed. In the evenings there were stables to muck out before a supper feed for the horses.

Wet days gave the men a chance to give the harness a good clean. Sundays were a day off for the horses as well as the men. Even in winter there was plenty to do with turnips to pull and lead and manure to spread by hand off the back of carts.

There was always ploughing which used to be done over winter with all seed sowing in the spring.

Ken  worked on various farms until the day tractors replaced horses.  His lack of interest in mechanical horsepower drove him away from the farming life – but his love of horses never left him.

First pony
His first pony was a 13 hands high black Fell pony named Nobby which he bought in 1944.    He has never been without either a horse, pony, donkey or Mule since.  There were periods when he had several at a time.
Over the years Ken has rescued many ill-treated animals or those destined for slaughter.  Becoming an Octaganian has not stopped him.  He and his wife Dawn still care for a Hinny named Megan who is a family pet.   A Hinny is the offspring of a pony stallion and a she-ass, but to many Megan is simply a Mule!
Arrival in Broughton

Dawn and Ken walk Megan up Main Street

Ken and Dawn arrived in Broughton in 1970, along with several ponies.  They moved after Ken, who by now was an ambulanceman, was transferred from Guisborough to work at Malton Ambulance Station where he remained until retiring after 35 years service.

Some of the ponies that arrived in Broughton with the Lucks were broken to harness.  Members of the Luck family were to become a regular sight driving around Ryedale in either a cart or the big family waggonnette.  Sometimes there was a horse or pony in the shafts – other times it was a donkey or a Mule.  Nowadays it is usually only  a winter experience to see Ken and Dawn with a Mule in the Main Street as they give Megan her daily exercise!
Mabel the Mule was even to  feature on television.  And among their Mules was a piebald named Molly.  Ken says that black and white Mules were quite a rarity.
Initially the ponies were stabled with the late Joe Bigg.  But when the buildings were demoloished for development local farmer John Lund offered the use of some of his buildings.
Many of the photos are kindly provided by the Lucks.  Some of their pictures have been used in other parts of the website to illustrate changes over the decades.
AGW 2011