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The Modern Shire Horse

The modern Shire has greater quality than its ancestors and owes a lot to cross breeding in the 1970's with Clydesdales. Clydesdale Stallions were being put in the stud books with false pedigrees and as there was no blood testing at this time it was impossible to prove parentage. These stallions had a huge impact on the breed. For example Hillmoor Enterprise won the National Championship at Peterborough in 1975 and for the next 15 years he covered on average 80 mares per season.

A high % of registered Shires today can be traced back to this Clydesdale stallion. He improved the quality of bone & feather in the breed and his stock can be easily identified by a white blaze which has a small dark spot on it at eye level. In 1981 out of 14 horses qualifying for the Horse Of The Year Show at Wembley 9 were sired by this horse.

Conformation Details
Height Over 17.2hh up to 19.2hh
Weight The biggest horse on the world weighing over 1 tonne.
colour Bay, brown, black or grey with white on the legs and feet
Neck Slightly arched & well set on long, deep shoulders wide enough to carry a collar.
Body Short back with tail hung high. Good length between fore & hind legs which should be set behind the quarters.
Legs Foreleg should be short in comparison with the body with flat bone and well defined knees. The hocks should be narrow from the front view and broad from the side view and should touch when the horse stands still. They should be set at the correct angle for optimum leverage The lower legs carry heavy but straight & silky feather.
Feet Feet should be large and rounded with plenty of length in the pasterns.
Going In motion a good Shire should meet you well with no tendency to dish, it should also lift the knees high and hit the ground. Going away they should bend their hocks and show you each foot whilst the whole hind leg should be of close proximity of each other.
Temperament Docile, gentle and hard working.

Today the Shire Horse is used for:

  • Agricultural work- more companionable than a tractor working at a more leisurely pace
  • Brewery Draught Horse -proving to be more economical for short haul local deliveries
  • Forestry - where they do less damage than heavy machinery and can work on steep slopes
  • Riding- a surprisingly versatile and trainable horse for many disciplines including dressage
  • Showing -to promote the breed and encourage new members of the Shire Horse Society
  • Marketing-who can resist seeing at close hand our magnificent Stallions, matronly Mares and delightful new born Foals.
  • These Gentle Giants are truly renowned for their Power & Beauty

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