Our new Shire Horses, Duke and Spartacus, are settling in nicely at Fishers. The father and son arrived at the Farm on 26th November 2018 and are a hit with staff and customers already! Spartacus, the dad, was born on 15th April 2007 and is 17 hands high. Duke, the son, was born on 10th June 2012 and is over 18 hands high which is amongst the tallest horses in the world! The largest Shire in the world was a horse called Mammoth, measuring 21.2 hands high! Shire horses are gentle giants and we are very excited to be used for riding and dressing up in their show harnesses in the future. Fishers Farm has housed Shire horses since it opened in 1990, 28 years ago, some of you may remember our first Shire horse, Casper, you can see big pictures of Casper in our slide barn!
Facts about Shire Horses
Shire horses originated from the English Great Horse, which was much valued during the reign of Henry VIII as a battle and general riding horse. Selective breeding over the next 300 years resulted in the Shire we see today. During the 19th Century well over a million Shires were in active use in the UK; pulling canal barges, wagons and farm implements. Shires were the main breed before mechanisation that was used to pull carts from the breweries to the inns because the immensely heavy kegs of beer needed huge powerful animals to pull them! There are now only between 900 and 1500 breeding females listed on the current Rare Breeds Survival Trust Watchlist. It is extremely important to breed and maintain numbers of Shire horses to prevent extinction, so we are very lucky to have 2 beautiful, healthy Shire horses at Fishers.