Clydesdales
The Gentle Giants of the Farm

Here on the farm our beautiful team's names are Tom and Gerry.

They are a mother and son team who love to give wagon rides, hay rides, and bobsled rides, complete with their large leather of sleigh bells. We hope you will come and join our fun.

The river Clyde runs through Lanarkshire in the lowlands of Scotland. The lowlands are actually quite hilly, and the weather can be snowy and cold in the winter. In the upper river valley, the Scots improved their native horses with imports of Flemish horses, as did the English in the south.

The Flanders horse was long regarded as a superior mount for knights, being larger than most of the native horses in Britain and Scotland. Flanders lay just across the Strait of Dover from Southeastern England, and as early as the 12th century, the import of the Flemish Black horse was encouraged to increase size and substance.

Writers frequently described these horses as dark in color with white on the face, feet, and often up the legs. They were tall, muscular, and heavily fringed with long hair on the cannons and fetlocks. Clydesdales have attractive heads and well built bodies with short backs. The shoulder needs to slope enough to prevent a short stride, yet not too much, which would make fitting a collar difficult. Like wise, the withers need to be high enough to seat the collar.

The hocks tend to turn inward as in most good draft horses, so that pulling power will be maximized. Horses with wider set legs will spread them when pulling a heavy load. Clydesdales tend to be longer in the leg than Belgians or Percherons. They also have good, round, open feet. British judges like to see silky hair on the legs and a nice high step. The foot is lifted so high that a judge standing behind the horse should be able to see the inside of the shoe. Good feet and legs have been stressed in the breed to meet the demands of road work.

The Clyde has less feather than the Shire, found mainly on the back of the leg and around the foot. Breeders now encourage the feathering that farmers use to find hard to keep clean. The Clyde's reputation among draft horse breeders is for good hocks, pasterns, and action. The average height is 17.2 hands in Stallions and 16.2 for mares. The breed is hardy and long lived. The Clydesdale remains the premier hitch horse in America.

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