The Clydesdale Horse is a draft horse breed from Great Britain that originated in the 19th century. It’s one of the biggest horse breeds weighing around 2,000 pounds. At an astonishing height of 17 hands, these well-muscled horses possess strong legs and frames. Their lengthy manes & tails can reach over six feet long!
Let’s get the hang of the Clydesdale breed and learn interesting facts about this heavy draft horse.
What Is a Clydesdale Horse?
The Clydesdale is a draft horse breed derived from Scotland. It’s typically distributed to Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. The Clydesdale Horse, like many other draft horses, was used as a war horse, for heavy hauling, farm working, and driving. Now the breed is also used for parades, as a show and carriage horse because of their charming feather legs. Thus, such a breed is quite versatile.
In fact, the Clydesdale Horse breed became popular because of the advertisement made by the Budweiser brewing company. Such equines were named Budweiser Clydesdales. The horse is also highly recognizable due to the bay coat and four white limbs with massive feathering.
Clydesdale Horse History
The Clydesdale breed was born in the 1800s near the River Clyde flows. Two Clydesdale breeders – John Paterson of Lochlyoch and the 6th Duke of Hamilton – combined Arabian horses with Flemish stallions crossed with local mares. A local system of hiring stallions occurred to spread the horse in various activities. The compact horse was used to help farmers transport heavy goods across agricultural lands. These intelligent creatures with massive hind legs were acclimated for various purposes, such as plowing fields or carrying cargo.
Since its recognition by the Clydesdale Horse Society (CHS) in 1877, the Clydesdale breed has earned admiration in Scotland and northern England. Nowadays, it is a celebrated horse all over the world. Breed associations accept Clydesdales of all colors and markings.
After World War I, the native breed of Scotland earned newfound fame for their impressive strength and size when employed by the military to pull heavy artillery. The Clydesdale Horse Society’s stud book noticed a record-breaking number of members recorded in 1920. The breed’s unmatched stamina and power have made the equine an extremely sought-after breed in draft horse competitions.
Today, Clydesdales have found a variety of uses, from show jumping and dressage to working around farms or ranches, while also becoming popular for pleasure riding. Since 1953, Anheuser Busch has covered a Clydesdale breeding program, and their Clydesdale teams are a well-known public symbol of the brewery. The horses used for advertising campaigns, like a Budweiser Clydesdales male, undergo a rigorous selection process to ensure that only the best specimens are represented.
Clydesdale Horse Facts
Clydesdale Horse Temperament
Clydesdale Horses have a calm and friendly temperament. It’s a highly intelligent horse breed. Horse owners enjoy working with Clydesdales. However, some of the horses are spirited animals. They could be stubborn if they don’t like how you treat them.
Generally, Clydesdale Horses are quiet and docile. This makes the equine an excellent horse breed for beginners. Clydesdales are patient and steady, which is perfect for rookie riders.
The Clydesdale is not the best horse breed for kids. Despite their gentle temperament, the equines are too big for children. In fact, the Clydesdale Horse height can go up to 18 hands, which is impressive.
Clydesdale Horse Lifespan
Clydesdale Horses live 20 to 25 years. That’s a pretty solid life expectancy. However, some horse breeds, like the Fjord Horse, can live up to 30 years. Such equines are long-livers.
Clydesdale Horse Characteristics
The Clydesdale Horse conformation has changed throughout history. In the early 20th century, the horse breed was relatively small. The equine was smaller than the Percheron and Sire. Soon after, breeders added other horse bloodlines to make Clydesdale taller horses. The equine was often used in parades and shows. Nowadays, Clydesdales are one of the biggest horses.
The horse stands out with a muscular and well-arched long neck. The head is prominent with a broad forehead and a wide muzzle. The withers are high, and the shoulders are sloped.
The Clydesdale Horse is loved for its impressive feathering on lower legs with large hooves. Many Clydesdales have white markings on their faces and four white legs that are called white stockings.
The Clydesdale Horse features active gaits. The horses have a high-stepping walk and trot with their lifted hooves. That gives the equines impressive power and presentation.
Clydesdale Horse Height
So, how tall is a Clydesdale Horse? The Clydesdale Horse height is 16 to 18 hands. That makes the breed one of the tallest equines in the world. Some stallions grow up even more than 18 hands tall. These animals are really huge!
Clydesdale Horse Weight
So, how big is a Clydesdale Horse? The Clydesdale Horse weight is 1,800 to 2,000 pounds. It’s one of the biggest horse breeds. Some stallions may weigh up to 2,200 pounds.
Clydesdale Horse Colors
The most common color for Clydesdales is a bay coat. Grey, chestnut, and black are rare Clydesdale Horse colors. Some equines come with white hairs on their body and legs (like a Sabino horse). The markings usually occur on the face, legs, lower belly, and feet. Some breeders prefer developing equines with white spotting on the face and legs, without markings on the body.
Bay and black Clydesdale Horses with white markings on faces and legs are expensive. You’ll fork out a fortune for such a luxury equine. Some horsemen buy a Clydesdale Horse for a specific color pattern only. Depending on the white marking spotting, the Clydesdale Horse Price can be different.
The coat color and white marking are not the only aspects that affect the price of a Clydesdale Horse.
Clydesdale Horse Price
So, how much does a Clydesdale Horse cost? The price range for a Clydesdale Horse is $2,500 to $5,000. Some horses can be found for $1,000 to $1,500. That’s a price for an average Clydesdale with a good nature and health condition. If you want to slay a horse show with a beautiful Clydesdale, get ready to pay $10,000 or even more. A saddle broke horse costs more. The more experienced horse you want, the more pricey it will be.
Several aspects affect the Clydesdale Horse price. They include the horse’s age, gender, health condition, color, markings, and level of training. The average price of a Clydesdale that is familiar with a saddle is $3,500. Get the horse tested before purchase. Farrier and vet checks are a must.
What Is the Most Expensive Clydesdale Horse?
The most expensive Clydesdale horse was ever sold for $212,500!
Clydesdale Horse Diet
Budweiser Clydesdales eat 25 to 50 pounds of hay per day. They also require 2 to 10 pounds of grain to the horse’s feed as well. That’s 2 times more than feeding an average horse of 1,000-pound weight. Additional food supplies like vitamin and salt blocks are also welcomed. Hence, more water supply is needed for Clydesdale Horses.
Depending on the equine’s workload and health condition, the diet plan may vary. Plus, you have to keep in mind the horse’s age, activity level, current weight, and more. Contact your vet to get professional help on horse feeding.
Can You Ride a Clydesdale Horse?
Yes, why not? The Clydesdale Horse is a quick-witted horse breed. Training the horse is a pleasure. You can perform in a range of competitions with such a beautiful and smart equine.
Most equestrian manufacturers provide their customers with tack gear for large equines. And the Clydesdale Horse is not an exception. Look for an appropriate saddle, cinch, and bridle suitable for your companion. Before buying equipment, check the product’s description to choose the right size.
As we already mentioned, Clydesdale Horses have a calm temperament. That makes the breed a superb choice for beginner riders. Besides, the big size of the equine is suitable for larger equestrians. Some Clydesdales are used as riding horses, while others prefer driving and pulling.
Shire Horse vs Clydesdale: Size Comparison
What horse is bigger than a Clydesdale? It’s the Shire Horse. Most Shire Horses are bigger than Clydesdale horses. However, their characteristics are very similar. The Shire Horse height is 17 hands on average. The average weight is 2,000 pounds. While the Clydesdale Horse is 16-17 hands tall. And it usually weighs 1,800-2,000 pounds.
Clydesdale Horse Cost and Facts Revealed
The Clydesdale is a beautiful horse breed with recognizable features. Horsemen are into the equine due to its white spottings and feathering on the legs. Their hoof-lift gaits are impressive. While being one of the largest draft horses, the equines are gentle and kind. You may consider a Clydesdale as the first riding horse. Make sure the equine is well-experienced that is familiar with riders.
Clydesdale horses require solid grooming as the hair is thick and long. Besides, the feathering on the lower limbs takes special care. And still, their grace and beauty are worth their needs.
Some good-looking and well-trained Clydesdales cost $5,000 to $25,000. The average price is $3,500. Keep in mind that the horse requires other spendings too. They include hay feeding, watering, sheltering, grooming, farrier and vet visits. The proper care and treatment will make the horse an exceptional companion for years.