Wadworth said the decision to cut the jobs of long-serving horsemen Vince Minty and Barry Petherick had been a difficult one.

Mr Minty had been a horseman at Wadworth for ten years. He is now driving milk tankers.

Mr Petherick had been a horsemen at Wadworth for 26 years and for many years was head horseman, although for the last few years had stepped back from that role and Martin Whittle became head horseman.

Martin and his son Callum are the remaining horsemen.

Asked why Wadworth did not announce the departure of Prince, Paul Sullivan, sales and marketing director at Wadworth, said: “With the horse going and changes in the stables structure with the men, we didn’t want the staff leaving appear less important than the horse.

“Barry and Vince had a very long service with us and we are incredibly grateful for everything they have done.”

Mr Sullivan said Wadworth had failed to find replacement shires over the years.

He said: “We have tried to get back up to four horses but it’s very difficult to find stock.”