While there is no absolute breed standard Clydes should be short backed and broad chested with a well sprung barrel. Heads should have a flat profile, and a large bright eye. The neck should be long and arched. Overall the horse should give the impression of muscular strength without being rangy or loose jointed. Clydesdales tend to be leggier than many draft horse breeds.
Clydesdales are tall and leggy and stand over 16HH and weigh over 1600 lbs. Clydes that stand over 18HH and weigh over a ton are not unusual.
The Clydesdale was developed for both agricultural work and commercial transportation. Today they are used for both riding and driving and are frequently crossed with Thoroughbreds to make strong, level headed sport horses. These are truly gentle giants that make wonderful family horses.
Color and Markings:
Clydesdales can be black, brown or bay or chestnut either solid or with some roan markings or spots. They can have white stockings on their legs, or solid colors. They often have wide white blazes or ‘bald’ facial markings.
History and Origins:
The Clydesdale was developed in Scotland during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The area where the breed began is now known as Lanarkshire district with the River Clyde flowing through it. Clydesdales first arrived in Canada with Scottish settlers, and then in the late 1880 were introduced in the United States. In Canada Clydesdales are listed as an At Risk breed with less than 500 registered horses in the country.
The most obvious characteristic is their large frying pan sized hooves and luxurious leg feather. Many Clydesdales have flashy colouring, with white facial markings and four white legs. They are high stepping at both the walk and trot.
Champions and Celebrities:
Most people know the Budweiser Clydesdales. Currently there are several teams that tour North America. The sight of the rumbling wagon weighing several tons, pulled by the eight horse hitch in gleaming harness is unforgettable.
- The History of the Clydesdale Horse
- Edwards, Elwyn Harteley, The Encyclopedia of the Horse, Willowdale, ON, Firefly Books Ltd.,1999