Sunday, July 27, 2014

Interesting Facts About the Famous Clydesdale Horse

Interesting Facts About the Famous Clydesdale Horse

The History and Use of the Clydesdale Horse by Kay Baxter

The famous Clydesdale horse is rich in history. Clydesdales are a breed of heavy draft horse. This gentle giant was first bred in Scotland from the Flemish Horse in the early 1800s. In the late 1900s they were exported from Scotland to the United States and other countries by Scottish Canadians. According to the official registry site for Clydesdales,, the name came from the area they originated in which was Lanarkshare (previously Clydesdale) district of Scotland. Known for their strength they were mainly used for agriculture, coalfields, and pulling wagons on the streets of Glasglow . Later they would be replaced by tractors but their popularity continued to rise. They are the ultimate parade horse as evidenced by the famous Budweiser Clydesdales, and make excellent carriage horses. They are still used in agriculture today where tractors are unavailable or unwanted. Most people do not realize that this large horse is often ridden under saddle and makes a great sport mount for dressage and hunter.

Clydesdales average 16-20 hands in height, and 1600-2400 lbs. Depending on their work load these horses can eat 25-50 pounds of hay per day a long with 2-10 pounds of grain. They are especially known for the large size of their hooves that enabled them to easily work the soft farm fields in Scotland where they originated.

Clydesdales are usually colored bay or black but you will occassionally see sorrell. They are well known for having white blazes and 4 white legs. This is caused by the Sabino gene and the early Clydesdale breeders were some of the first horsemen to capitolize on the white spotting pattern. Oftentimes you will see Clydesdales with white spotting on the body. While this is not as desirable this again is due to the Sabino gene and breeding Sabino horses to Sabino horses. They are also famous for the "feathers" on their hocks. This long silky hair accenuates the movement of the horse and makes a beautiful picture.

Clydesdales are not only known for their size and strength but for their amazing gentle temperment. This is why they are referred to by many as "gentle giants". They are a very intelligent breed of horse that is very willing and wants to please their owner.
The typical life span of a Clydesdale is pretty much the same as any horse. Given good care and nutrition many live into their 20's and occassionaly 30's.

Clydedales require much the same basic care as any other horse breed. Special care to nutrition though should be given due to their large size. Especially young Clydesdales often grow at a fast rate so feed must be adjusted to account for their growth or they can become too thin rather quickly. Another consideration is obtaining a farrier that has the skills to trim and shoe a very large hoof. Clydesdales hooves average the same span as a large dinner plate. In comparison a light horse hoof is about half that size.

Health concerns of Cyldedales are pretty much the same as any horse breed. Major concerns would be laminitis and colic. One specific concern can be scratches on the heels due to the feathering. It is important to keep that area clean and dry to avoid scratches.

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