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Shire - Horse
OriginDerbyshire, Midlands, England
ClassHeavy draught horse
ColourBlack, brown, bay or grey. Often white on the lower part of the legs.
ParentageHorses imported by William the Conqueror and later imports from The Netherlands with further selection.
The Shire Horse Society
The Shire is the largest and heaviest British Horse breed, a mature stallion weighing in at 900 – 1100kg. Shire’s are likely to have been developed from the original English Horses imported by William the Conqueror. These were primarily used in battle and were latter improved by crossing with breeds from The Netherlands. The refined breed later became known during the 17th Century as the ‘Old English Black Horse’.
The Shire horse of the 19th and early 20th century was utilised for ploughing fields, pulling carts and for pulling barges along canals.
One of the most recognisable features of the Shire is the fine, straight and silky white fetlocks found on all feet. A feature that does not lend the breed to use on wet clay soils. The hair can quickly become covered in mud making cleaning more time consuming after a days work.
Action: Straight and true
The Shire Horse Society was first established under the name of The English Cart Horse Society in 1878, a name which it retained until 1884 when the name changed to The Shire Horse Society.