Draft horse community mourning the loss of Sunderland’s Ted English
Photo of Ted and Chris English, by Stacie C. Lynch Photography. Shared on Facebook by North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series.

Family and friends, including those in the draft horse community across Canada, are mourning the death of Ted English of Country Lane Belgians in Sunderland.

Chris English, Ted’s wife of nearly five years, says her husband passed away on Monday (Aug. 28) after a brief but courageous battle with cancer.

She says Ted was a humble man, kind, caring and a genuine people-person.

“He loved people, he loved talking to people, especially about the horses,” she says.

“He had a very strong passion for horses in particular but also for all animals.  He was such a kind and caring man.”

Chris says her husband was a lifelong member of the Brock community.

“He was raised in Cannington, in the house that we live in now,” Chris says.

His father, Bill English, built what is now The Locker in Cannington and his grandfather, Robert English, had a farm on Highway 7, just past Manilla.

His family has a lot of history in Brock, Chris says fondly, noting Ted was a dedicated member of the Sunderland Lions Club and had served two terms as president.

For more than 40 years, Ted operated a milk transport business out of Sunderland. It was from this business that the team of Country Lane Belgians was born as Ted used his antique milk wagons and horse-drawn equipment in parades and festivals before competing across North America.

Earlier this year, his horses were featured in the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival.

In a Facebook statement posted Monday, representatives of the North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series extended their condolences to English’s family and crew members.

“We are saddened to learn of Ted’s passing. Ted has been a great supporter of the draft horse industry and will be greatly missed in our draft horse family,” reads the post.

“Country Lane Belgians started out as a hobby for Ted about fourteen years ago in tribute to the milk transport business he owned and operated. With a number of antique milk wagons and old horse-drawn equipment in his possession, it seemed only fitting to start using horses to pull them in parades and festivals across the province.

“Since then, Country Lane Belgians, under the direction of Kyle and Marcia Forsyth for the past seven years, became first class competitors at about 15 to 20 shows a year, including such prestigious events as the New York State Fair, the Eastern States Exposition, and the Royal Winter Fair. The distinctive turquoise colored hitch wagon is the color of a 1956 Chevrolet car, the color chosen by Ted’s father years ago for the milk trucks owned and operated by Country Haulage Ltd. In both 2008 and 2012, the hitch made the 4,300-kilometer, cross-Canada trek to compete in the Calgary Stampede’s World Champion Six-Horse Hitch Competition and both times claimed the top prize.”

North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series went on to recognize Country Lane Belgians’ several World titles earned at the North American Belgian Championships. Furthermore, they noted that just this month, the team took home the title of National Chamption Six-Horse Hitch.

“We thank Ted for his many contributions to the draft horse industry,” concluded the post.

Although the loss is painful, Chris says she has years of remarkable memories with Ted to carry her through.

“(Our time together was) amazing. Full of love, happiness and so many good memories. He really was a great person,” says Chris.

“These memories, I’ll cherish them and treasure them for the rest of my life.”

For those wishing to pay their respects to Ted, visitation will be at the Trinity United Church in Cannington on Friday, Sept. 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be a Service to Celebrate Ted’s life at Brock High School on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m.

Interment will be across the road at Cedar Vale Cemetery, Cannington.