Clydesdale Draft Horse
Most Recognized Draft Breed in America
Probably the most recognized of draft horse breeds in American, thanks to beer and football, is the Clydesdale. Staring in some of the Super Bowl's most memorial commercials, the Clydesdale hitch is well known for pulling the Budweiser Beer Wagon.
Clydesdales at Quail Creek Farms, Lexington, NC
Developed in the 1800s in the county of Lanarkshire, Scotland (formerly known as Clydesdale) the Clydesdale's purpose was farming. According to legend the Duke of Hamilton imported six black Flemish coach stallions from Flanders. These horses were bred to domestic mares and eventually resulted in the Clydesdale.
The breed soon became an important contributor to Scotland's mining industry in addition to farming. The horse's reputation as a tractable, strong, and agile workhorse spread easily from Scotland to England, and by the late part of the century the horses were being exported to the United States and Canada.
The Clydesdale Breeders of the United States was incorporated in 1879. The horse was used in farming, forestry, and for transporting people and goods by wagon and carriage. As tractors replaced workhorses, the Clydesdales dropped in numbers in the United States. But in recent years they have become popular as carriage and show horses. Their colorful markings and showy action at the trot, the long feathering (long hair on horse's lower legs) and high head carriage give them a presence unmatched in other draft breeds.
The National Clydesdale Horse Show has run for over thirty years and offers halter classes, junior exhibitor showmanship, and various carts and hitch classes. The Clydesdale can also be found competing in events outside its breed shows in hunter, jumping and dressage. They are also popular riding horses.
Clydesdales are valued for their intelligence and willing disposition. They stand from 16 to 19 hands and weigh from 1,600 to 2,200 pounds; size should not outweigh good conformation. The Clyde has a good size foot and strong legs, which results in a sound horse with few lameness problems. The over-all conformation creates a balanced, agile horse with substance.
The 2008 National Clydesdale Sale showed this breed to have maintained a strong market, whereas the horse market has shown a huge low for many other breeds. Their top selling horse was Robyncroft Fuslier's Fire, a three-year-old gelding that sold for $20,000 to David Carson of Listowel, Ontario. Over all 135 Clydesdales were sold, averaging over $4,000 each. Nearly 1500 spectators attended the sale held in Madison, Wisconsin.
There are about 4,000 Clydesdales registered with the Clydesdale Breeders of the USA. Anheuser-Busch is the largest breeder of Clydesdales in the world with 225-250 head. The Budweiser Clydesdales are the most traveled horses in the world, logging 100,000 miles per year to appear in parades, festivals, rodeos, horse shows, and other events. The company has five eight-horse hitches that travel all over North America and sometimes overseas.
- Clydesdale Breeders of the USA
Visit the official website to learn more about Clydesdale Horses.