Clydesdale

Many horse breeds have a drop or two of Clydesdale, or of Shire or Suffolk blood in their veins, and these are some of the breeds of big powerful horses that were essential to agriculture and heavy draft until they were supplanted by mechanization.


Scotland's heavy horse, the Clydesdale, originated in the Clyde valley during the eighteenth century, when native mares were crossed with Flemish stallions to give more weight.

A little leggier than the Clydesdale were, and still are used for general work, and like all the heavy horse breeds, are sometimes crossbred with light horses to produce good heavy and middle-weight hunters and jumpers.

The Netherlands and France have always been heavy horse countries and remain so today to a larger extent than elsewhere.

After World War II it seemed that heavy horses were a thing of the past, except for those still indispensable to a few Continental countries, and the animals kept for showing.

Yet a short while ago interest in this magnificent horse breed began to revive and their numbers, chiefly in Britain and North America, are slowly increasing.

Quite a number of British and American breweries are discovering that the use of Clydesdale and other heavy draft horses to deliver beer in the major cities, is not only an excellent advertisement but also more economical on short haul than using lorries.

A very popular spectacle in London has been Lord ayor's Day, and since 1954 a brewery has supplied six splendid gray Shires to draw the four and a half ton Lord Mayor's Coach through the City streets.

Also some farmers find it good policy to supplement tractors with a good ole Clydesdale horse team, mainly for carting feed and for use when soil and weather conditions preclude weighty machines.

And although ploughing is now normally a province of the tractor, there are a few farms left which are still entirely reliant on literal horse power.

American shows are well supported by the Heavy Horse breeders and the competition is keen.

As in Britain the Clydesdale and other 'Heavies' are used for both publicity and work, big horses are still in demand for logging where forest conditions can immobilize mechanical labor, and they are also used for such pleasure occupations as sleigh riding, hay-rides, horse trekking, and the pulling contests.