The Shire Horse is the tallest and heaviest breed of horse in the world. They are also the most easy-going of the big draught (sounds like draft; means to draw or pull) breeds. And this heavy horse has a very colorful history which launched them to the top of the horse world at one million strong, and then dropped them to the brink of extinction.
The Shire Horse has a very noble history. Imagine back in time to the misty battle grounds resounding with the clashing of steel swords and body armor. Imagine the thundering hooves of great horses shaking the ground upon which knights fought for honor and glory. Because Shire Horses are so calm you might think that they would not be good war horses. But they were. In fact, they were famous for their battlefield heroics.
They came from the ‘Shires’ of England. They were the ‘Great War Horse’ of Medieval times. Their massive size and monstrous muscles made it easy to carry a heavily-armored knight and their own protective body shields weighing 400 lbs (180 kg). The Shire flourished in the 1500s.
Cities grew on the backs of the Shire. If the Shire was useful in war, this breed proved to be even more valuable in peace time. It was dur-ing the 18th century (1700s) that this horse ruled on the roads and in the fields. Shires moved the commerce (ships’ cargo boxes) to and from the docks and through the rough city streets. It was a time when people desperately needed massive horses with great strength to help build cities and help farmers feed the people in them.