Apple Day 2021: Meet Frank, the plum-stealing pony

Frank, the cob

Frank, hard at work - Credit: Lucy Delicate

It takes a very special little horse to to be entrusted with The Folk of Gloucester’s treasured apple mill. 

With the annual Apple Day celebrations looming, and previous star Rosie being in foal, drastic measures were called for to find a cider-making star for the big day and so the team from The Folk took to local radio and social media. Following a flurry of interest and offers from ponies and horses of various shapes and sizes, in walks Frank. 

A mischievous plum thief, Frank (now five, with a show name of ‘To Be Frank’) is in the ownership of Gloucestershire-based Lucy Delicate, and there’s never been a dull moment. 

Frank with Lucy

Frank with Lucy - Credit: Lucy Delicate

‘I’ve been lucky enough to have owned Frank since he was four months old,’ says Lucy. ‘Along the way, we have grown together; him understanding what work he needs to do, and me what rewards he enjoys.’ 

Frank’s field companion is a 17.1hh Clydesdale called Ted.  

Ted and Frank

Ted and Frank - Credit: Lucy Delicate

‘I would say Frank is the brains of the outfit,’ continues Lucy. ‘He’s almost a little horse Houdini; when willing, he is able to get out of any situation he doesn’t want to be in... such as rugs, stables and fields.  

‘At this time of the year his favourite pastime is kicking the plum trees in his field until the plums fall, then quickly eating them before Ted sees.’ 

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On Apple Day at The Folk, there will be plenty of apples, pears, juices and ciders on offer, of course, but no plums. So, how does Lucy think he’ll fare on the day itself? 

‘He will give almost anything a go,’ she smiles, ‘but it normally comes with a bit of attitude and sass.’ 

Apple Day is on Saturday, October 23, 10am-4pm, at The Folk of Gloucester, 99-103 Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2PG, thefolkofgloucester.co.uk and facebook.com/TheFolkofGloucester

The Folk of Gloucester is run by Gloucester Civic Trust.

Frank and Lucy are members of the Cotswold Cart Horse Society, run by Eric Freeman. Visit facebook.com/cotswoldcarthorse

  • Apple Day is a national celebration of apples, traditional orchards and cider that has been going on for 21 years now 
  • The Folk of Gloucester’s horse-drawn cider mill will be open for the day, and the public are invited to see it in action – with Frank at the harness, of course! 
  • Gloucestershire Orchard Trust will be exhibiting the traditional varieties of apples found in the county which, at the last count, was over 30 
  • Lassington Oak and Styx of Stroud will be giving performances in the Courtyard, and inviting willing participants to have a go 
  • Local cider-makers Severn Cider and Bushel + Peck will be selling their ranges of real cider 
  • There will be various children’s activities, including operating an apple press, exploring the apple trail, and having a go at apple ‘swirling’ 
  • Musical performances will include Bygonz, Shepherd’s Crook, Burton Wynes, Notabene, the U3A band and Jovial Crew 
  • Martin Hayes from The Orchard Trust will be giving a talk about orchards, as well as one based on his book Memories of Life as an Itinerant, and giving demonstrations of pruning trees 
  • Come along and celebrate the rich heritage of traditional orchards and cider-making in Gloucestershire, while also raising funds to preserve the magnificent set of buildings housing The Folk of Gloucester! 
Apple Day at The Folk of Gloucester, 2021

Apple Day at The Folk of Gloucester, 2021 - Credit: Candia McKormack