Clydesdale breed information
Clydesdale horse general information
COLORThe most common colors in the Clydesdale breed are bay, black and brown. Roans are also seen with some occasional chestnuts. White is seen on the face and legs with white often running into the body. The show ring does not discriminate on color with light roans and horses with dark legs being considered equally with horses of the more solid colors and traditional markings.
WEIGHTThey can grow to over 2,000 pounds. Newborn foals average 57 kg (125 lb.). A male's average weight is 771-998 kg (1,700-2,200 lb.). A female averages 680-771 kg (1,500-2,000 lb.).
LIFE EXPECTANCYTypically, Clydesdales survive into their late teens to early 20s.
USESDraft horse showing is a form of competition in which Clydesdales and other draft horse breeds are judged in performance when driving in harness and in halter.
INFLUENCEShire, Flanders Horse
TEMPRERAMENTThe Clydesdale horse is lively and intelligent with good temperament.
The outstanding characteristics of this renowned horse are a combination of weight, size and activity, and what is looked for first and last by a Clydesdale enthusiast is the exceptional wearing qualities of feet and limbs. The feet must be round and open with hoof heads wide and springy, for any suspicion of contraction might lead to sidebones or ringbones. To some extent, the further requirements of this breed vary somewhat from the orthodox and should be noted. The horse must have action, but not exaggerated, the inside of every shoe being made visible to anyone walking behind. The forelegs must be well under the shoulders, not carried bull-dog fashion, in fact must hang straight from shoulder to fetlock joint, with no openness at the knee, yet with no inclination to knock. The hind legs must be similar, with the points of the hocks turned inwards rather than outwards, and the pasterns must be long. Distinctive long, silky hair below the knees and hocks draw attention to the stylish lifting of the feet at the trot.
The head must have an open forehead, broad across the eyes, the front of the face must be flat, neither dished nor roman, wide muzzle, large nostrils and a bright, clear, intelligent eye. A well-arched and long neck must spring out of an oblique shoulder with high withers, while the back should be short, with well-sprung ribs, and, as befits a draught horse, the thighs must be packed with muscle and sinew.
From their use as warhorses in the 17th century to their work in advertising today, the Clydesdale horse breed has undergone powerful changes. In Clydesdale, Scotland, now known as Lanarkshire, the animal was named for the town where it was used as a draft horse on area farms. Believed to have a history of over 300 years, the strong yet amiable animal was used in farming as well as pulling heavy loads in rural settings, as well as is urban and industrial areas.
As recently as the 1960’s they could been seen pulling carts of milk and vegetable and are perhaps better known as the advertising celebrity for Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. Right after then-president August A. Busch II admonished his son for buying a new Lincoln Town Car during the depression, he found outside the brewery in St. Louis, Missouri a Studebaker beer wagon with an eight-horse hitch of Clydesdales. The horses remain today as the company’s mascot.
The Clydesdale population dipped to a low of about 80 animals and in 1975 was on the vulnerable list for survival. With the Clydesdale horse breed’s growing popularity, their population is estimated at over 5,000 and growing with an estimated 600 foals each year.
Traditionally used for heavy labor, the Clydesdale horse breed has been mostly replaced by tractors and other machinery except by farmers who reject the industrial way of life and on eco-friendly farms, as well as in some remaining logging operations.
Clydesdale health and genetic issues
"Scratches" or pododermititis are more prevalent in horses that are subjected to wet muddy conditions for extended periods. Horses with white feet seem also to be more susceptible to scratches.
Clydesdale fun facts
The Clydesdale has been exported to many regions of the world, including North and South America, Europe and the former Soviet Union. It was first imported to the United States about 1880 where it worked in cities pulling merchants' vehicles. It was not as popular in rural areas since the abundant feather about the feet made it difficult to care for them in muddy farmlands. Also, farmers desired a heavier horse for work in the field and, therefore, chose more massive, if less distinguished-appearing breeds. Perhaps the most famous Clydesdales in America are owned by the Anheuser-Busch Company of St. Louis.