August 07, 2008 | | Comments 0

Clydesdale Horses

Clydesdale Horses

Clydesdale Horses: The Temperate Giants of Scotland

Among the different horse breeds, the Clydesdale is among the most well known. You may not recognize the name but you can easily recognize its appearance. It has mainly achieved international acclaim because of its link with a popular beer brand and to several other commercial product brands. Before the breed ever became a brand symbol, it was really just a large but humble workhorse breed.

Clydesdale Horses in Scotland

The Clydesdale horse breed was originally from Scotland. Its name comes from the river Clyde which is found in the southern region. Although the horse is an old breed that has been around for centuries, there is some evidence that it may not have been native to the region. The general belief is that the horse breed emerged after female Scottish horses were mated with larger ones imported from England. The result was the Clydesdale breed that featured horses far larger than their English fathers.

As is the case with many large horses, the Clydesdale became perfect workhorses. Although they were impressive as riding horses because of their appearance, their size made them more suited to farm work, cart pulling, clearing timber and carrying of heavy loads. Eventually, these highly functional horses found their way to the rest of Scotland and England. They were then shipped to Canada, America and Australia.

In all of their new homes, the Clydesdale horses were highly appreciated by farming communities. That was until the late 1940s when new farming equipment and techniques made the use of these horses unnecessary. The demand for them decreased which resulted in a slightly dangerous decrease in their number. Fortunately, many Clydesdale enthusiasts have continued to preserve the bloodline of this breed in family farms.

Today, the Clydesdale has primarily become a show horse, participating in government parades, event displays, agricultural fairs and specially commissioned pleasure rides. Some Clydesdale horses with mixed blood have been known to excel in such horse activities as riding, dressage and even jumping.

Clydesdale Horse Traits

It is impossible to miss a Clydesdale when you see one. Many of them measure as high as 18 hands with some even towering over 20 hands. Their massive size is matched by equally large features from the head to the hooves. As befits true workhorses, their necks are shorter and their shoulders less sloping than those of typical riding horses. Of course, these horses have lots of muscles packed into them.

One other distinctive feature of these horses is their color. Horse body colors can vary but true Clydesdale horses have what is called a white blaze on their faces. The white area can include the region near the eyes and extend to the mouth. Many Clydesdale horses also have distinctly white legs although some horses can have one or more colored legs.

Clydesdale horses are of course typically known for their strength. Being farm helpers however, they have also been known to be manageable, calm and gentle. Unless spooked or harmed, no human is in danger of these giants.

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