Although I don't know for sure, Chesney's mother looked as though she had some Shire blood. This would explain his size and bulk but also the fact that he is a very gentle horse.
Chesney's mum was a smaller version of this one!
The Shire was originally from the Midlands and Lincolnshire. It is a type of draught horse and is the tallest of the British breeds. Shire horses are very strong and have huge weight pulling ability. It is also a very docile breed. Shire horses have more hair on their lower legs than most other heavy horses.
The name 'Shire' was first used in the 17th century, however, the horse we know today is probably descended from a horse known as the 'Packington Blind Horse'. From Leicestershire his descendents were first recorded in 1770 and are recorded through to the 1830's.
In the 19th century the Shire horse was used widely as a cart horse moving goods between the docks, cities and countryside. Their build suited the rough roads.
During the late 19th and early 20th century the Shire horse was exported to the USA in large numbers. However, mechanisation and the effects of World War II has more recently seen a significant drop in numbers. The breed is now considered to be at critical levels in the USA and UK.
Height: up to 18.0 hh
Colour: Bay, Brown, Black or Grey.
Conformation: Shire horses have quite a fine head, relative to their bodies and large eyes. The neck is thick but slightly arched and the shoulders strong and muscular. Shire horses' have wide chests and short muscular backs. They have a big barrel and powerful quarters. A Shire horse's legs are long and have obvious 'feathers'.
Temperament: Very easy going.
Shires are now used by a few breweries eg: Wadworth and Hook Norton . They are also used in forestry and for leisure riding.
Although very big and strong they seem to be such lovely gentle horses that we must make sure the breed does not disappear.
The Shire Horse Society Website: http://www.shire-horse.org.uk/
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