The Shire horse can be traced back to English Great Horse brought about by the Norman conquest in 1066. The Shire horse is the largest of England's native horses and was traditionally used a war horse and for use in agriculture. The Shire horse was also used in weight pulling contests. Developments in farm machinery resulted in a decline in number of Shire horses to only 5000 in 1972; however promotions work and labour for breweries have saved the Shire horse from extinction.
The Shire horse stands over 17 hh.
The Shire horse is the tallest of the modern breeds of draught horse, has a powerful muscular build often with convex profile, long slightly arched neck, powerful sloping shoulders, rounding muscular quarters long legs. It has an attractive head with, thick neak and heavy feather. The Shire horse is coloured bay, brown or grey with white markings. White marks on the shire are not permitted above the hocks or knees and roan colouring is not permitted in a breeding mare or stallion, wall eyes are another feature not permitted in breeding animals.
The Shire horse is docile, gentle and hard working.
The Shire horse is well known for its substance and bone, and widely used in the breeding of the heavier hunter types by crosses and second-crosses on thoroughbred mares. Although not normally recognised as a riding horse, it was originally used for this purpose by the knights in armour purely to carry the large weight. Naturally powerful hind-quarters are supported on excellent long legs with dense bones.