Clydesdale & Shire Draft Horses
Clydesdales originated in the Clyde River Valley of Scotland and owe much of their heritage to the Great Horse of the Middle Ages. In their home country they became famous for their size, power and snappy looks. Not only could they pull heavy weightwhether plowing steep, rough hills or pulling a freight wagon from city to citybut they looked stylish doing it. While the Clydesdale remained a farm horse, it quickly found its calling as a freight horse because of its size, power, quick way of going and because it attracted attention, therefore advertising the owner's wares.
For the same reasons the Clydesdale was so popular in Scotland and much of Europe, it quickly gained favor in Canada and the United States. Abundant white feathering on the feet is a trademark of this breed, although those who work horses in the field find the extra grooming to keep the feathering clean to be a slight detriment. Clydesdale are therefore commonly seen in exhibition hitches for brewery companies and in shows and parades. In the United States Clydesdales are more numerous than the similar looking Shire, although the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists both as rare breeds under that status "watch."
Shires were used to draw heavy carts for farm markets and in large teams to plow the expansive fields of the English Shires, which gave the breed its name. Imported into the United States and Canada in the early 1900s, the massive Shire quickly found its place pulling heavy loads throughout the countryside and on city streets. In the United States today Shires range in conformation from the old-style work horses to the modern "hitchy" show style.
The Shire is the tallest horse breed in the world. It has a long, muscular, but refined neck and a medium-sized head. The entire body is muscular and powerful. The legs are longer than those of most draft horse breeds and have dense, silky feathering. The Shire has great strength as well as endurance and a snappy, active way of going. The American Shire is popular in the show ring, where it is often found hitched to brewery drays in matching teams of six or eight.
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PO Box 2067, Cedar Rapids IA 52406-2067
Phone: 319-362-3027 Fax: 319-362-3046
15 June 2011