Jack Juby MBE, who died in 2004, was one of the last of his breed. “Groom” doesn’t begin to sum up his work. “Horseman” he certainly was, and a trainer and master of heavy horses in Norfolk – a service for which he received his MBE. He was employed by the Peacock family for most of his working life, and also kept his own ponies and a show jumper who was so successful in local shows that Alan Oliver tried to buy him.
He only had one holiday before his retirement, going to the Isle of Wight for a week before returning hotfoot to Norfolk and his beloved horses.
“When I got home and I turned in from Attleborough and come down by Paterson’s corner, as I come down to ‘the Laurels’ I saw the [Percheron] stallion up at the farm. I went indoors and was just making a cup of tea and I nearly jumped out of my skin when the telephone rang. It had been put in when we were away! It was Mrs Peacock and she said, ‘You’re home then, you’ve been home nearly twenty minutes, haven’t you?’
I say, ‘Yeah.’
‘We knew,’ she say, ‘we knew because that stallion has been shrieking his head off and the mares up on the meadow they are calling! I ran indoors and said to mother, “Jack is home, I bet he’s home,” and that’s when I called you.’
I’d been away a week and they knew I was home. As I turned into Waterloo Farm, Mrs Peacock came out and said:
‘For goodness sake go and see to Fen Admiral. We have been worried about him all week, he hasn’t eaten anything.’
My bales of hay still laid there. I went up to him and patted him on his neck. I gave him his usual mint and said:
‘You silly old bugger, you.’ He turned round and started tucking into his hay. Mrs Peacock wouldn’t believe it.”
From My Life with Horses, The Story of Jack Juby MBE, Master of the Heavy Horse, by Alison Downes and Alan Childs.