I bet you all appreciate and love the beautiful Shire horse who is known all across the world for his majestic size and power, even holding the Guinness World record as the tallest horse in the world. They look similar to Clydesdale horses due to their big hooves and feathering on their legs. Although they have a grand stature, shire horses are normally very kind, loyal, and enthusiastic. The name of the breed is a representation of where the horses began, from the rural shires of England.
These horses have been around for nearly 800 years and throughout all the history they have proven that they are versatile horses that are very willing to work on a farm, to pull heavy loads or even serving as warhorses. If you are considering buying a Shire horse or you are just a fan of their beauty keep reading to learn more about this beautiful breed. Below we have decided to show some of the most amazing facts you probably didn’t know about them.
1. Shire horses are a very loving and friendly breed.
Although Shire horses are some of the biggest horses in the world, they are still very gentle animals. They are also very easy to train, with bucking or rearing thought to be odd behavior. They were bred for war purposes, so they had to be very calm on battlefields. This is the reason why they are still believed to be very patient.
2. Henry II looked for the excellent qualities of a Shire horse.
Henry II needed a very powerful horse to carry the full weight of a knight that was in large armor. The weight of the person alone could be up to 400 pounds. The king looked for horses with particular features that were needed, started supporting particular breeding, and that’s how the Shire horse breed was produced.
3. The first breed registry was founded in the late 1800s.
Crossbreeding only takes place on very rare occasions, that’s why the Shire horse is one of the few breeds that is absolutely pure. It has been this way ever since the first breed registry for this draft horse was founded.
4. Some villages still use Shire horses for their primary purpose.
As we mentioned in the beginning, Shire horses were mainly used as a helpful warhorse, a workhorse in different farms. Farmers used the Shire horses out to till the fields, pull equipment, and handle all kinds of farm work. Some people, such as the Amish in the United States, still use Shire horses to do their farm work. However, the majority of people own Shire horses only for pleasure and their gentle character makes them great for recreational riding.
5. Shire horses come in many colors.
Shire horses come in all various colors, but not every color fits a particular breed standard. In the US, chestnut coloring is not permitted for Shire stallions whilst in the United Kingdom, it is allowed. Usually, the majority of shire horses are either bay, grey, or black.
6. Shire horses can pull a tremendous mass of weight.
In 1924, during an exposition in England, it was discovered that a pair of Shire horses were able to pull an opening load that was measured to be 45 tons. Nobody knows if this is the exact pull weight because the pair of Shire horses passed the maximum reading of the measurement device.
7. The Clydesdale horse was used to enhance the appearance of the modern Shire.
We said that crossbreeding has always been granted rare with the Shire breed, but in the 1950s there was an attempt by breeders to enhance the look of the Shire by mixing them with Clydesdales. This attempt is important for the fact that it transformed the look of the feathering around the feet for the Shire breed from disordered fur to silky fur that is just like the one the Clydesdale has.
8. Many Shire horses are getting back to work.
Many small farms in the UK have decided to use the Shire horse for farm work to replace different devices in order to decrease the impact they create on the environment. Forestry administration services are also using Shire horses more often because their hooves cause less environmental pollution than current equipment.
9. Shire horses are very expensive horses.
A purebred Shire horse may require a price that is up to $15,000. Even mixed Shire breeds are displayed for prices that hang around $10,000. Although not everyone can afford to buy a Shire horse, all Shire owners declare that owning a Shire horse can be a very rewarding purchase in so many ways.