|Origins:||Central Shire Counties on England|
|Height:||Stallions - above 17 hands high at maturity (average about 17.2 hands). Mares above 16 hands.|
|Colour:||Black, brown, bay or grey or roan in mares only. Stallions should not have large white patches over the body.|
|Weight:||Stallions from 18 cwt (900 Kg) to 22 cwt (1100 Kg) when matured..|
|Head:||Long and lean, with long neck in proportion to the body. Mares should be of feminine appearance|
|Nose:||Slightly Roman nostrils thin and wide with lips together.|
|Eyes:||Large, well set and docile in expression. Wall eyes not acceptable in stallions but are in mares of certain grades.|
|Ears:||Long, lean, sharp and sensitive.|
|Throat & Jaw:||Clean cut and lean|
|Neck:||Long, slightly arched. Stallions should have a commanding appearance while mares should be more feminine.|
|Shoulders:||Deep, oblique and wide enough to support the collar..|
|Body:||GIRTH: In stallions
6 ft (183 cms) to 8 ft (244 cms). In mares 5 ft (152 cms) to
7 ft (214 cms)
BACK: Short, strong and muscular. Should not be dipped or roached. In mares normally longer than the stallion.
FORE-END: Wide across the chest, with well developed legs set well under the body to allow good action.
HIND-QUARTERS: Long and sweeping, wide and full of muscle, well let down towards the thighs.
|Feet:||Deep, solid and wide, with thick open walls. Coronets should be hard and sinewy with substance.|
|Forelegs:||Should be as straight as possible down to pastern.|
|Hindlegs:||Hocks should be not too far back and in line with the hind-quarters with ample width broadside and narrow in front. The leg sinews should be clean cut and hard like fine cords to touch and clear of short cannon bone.|
|Hair:||Not too much, fine straight and silky.|
|The Shire Horse has
a grand, although none-too-precise history which is founded on
the mediaeval Great Horse which came to England
in 1066 with William the Conqueror. In turn this horse is thought
to be from northern European stock with its origins probably
in black friesian horses. The extreme height of the Shire horse
may well be partly due to inclusion of thoroughbred in its past.
As a draught horse, one variety, boosted by stock being imported from the Netherlands, emerged in the Eastern Counties during the 17th century as the Black Horse. This was vastly improved in the Midlands during the eighteenth century and became popularly known as the Bakewell Black. In 1878, when the pedigree society was founded the name English Cart Horse was adopted, but changed to Shire Horse six years later.