All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pictured: Duke, the 6ft 5in Shire horse that is Britain's tallest (but he's still scared of mice

by Andrew Levy

He's about as heavy as a family car - and costs almost as much to run. Duke the shire horse stands 19.3 hands, or around 6ft 5in at the shoulder.

Duke the shire horse stands 19.3 hands, or around 6ft 5in at the shoulder.

He lives in a stable which had to be custom-built to fit all four hooves, and his blankets have to be made to measure. And he munches through £80 of food a week.

The one-ton giant has already claimed the title of Britain's tallest horse.

At five years old he is still growing, however - and may one day take the world record from Radar, a Canadian shire who is around an inch taller.

"He's the biggest horse I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few horses over the years. He's an absolute giant."

The amount of food he eats is four times that of a normal horse, said Mrs Ross.

"He can really pack it away. In the summer he has two small feeds and then eats grass in the field.

"In winter, he has two large feeds and "ad-lib" hay - which generally means around one-and-a-half bales a day. If he didn't come in at night he'd eat all the grass in the field."

Despite his size, Duke gets on well with his more diminutive stablemates and has a particularly soft spot for a Shetland pony called Jasper.

The average height of a shire horse is 17.2 hands. The British record of 19.2 hands was held by a shire called Cracker until his death last year.


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