Big Jake, the world’s largest horse, passed away recently according to his owners. A 20-year-old Belgian who stood 6 foot 10 inches and weighed 2,500 pounds, Big Jake lived 20 years.
He participated in draft horse shows at Smokey Hollow Farm in Wisconsin.
How he got his title
Big Jake was a Belgian draft horse gelding certified as the world’s tallest living animal by Guinness World Records in 2010. Standing 6 foot 10 and three-quarter inches (that measurement does not include his head or neck), Big Jake weighed in excess of 2,500 pounds.
Smokey Hollow Farm in Poynette, Wisconsin was home for the horse before her recent passing; her family announced this news without providing further details as to the cause.
According to Smokey Hollow Farm’s website, Big Jake was born in March 2001. At first he participated in draft horse contests but later retired and became part of our farm family.
He was an extremely friendly and gentle giant who enjoyed getting belly rubs and playing with people’s hair. Additionally, he displayed some humor by laughing at the camera in this YouTube video.
Jerry Gilbert, owner of Smokey Hollow Farm and Big Jake was described by WMTV as being “truly magnificent animal.” Following Big Jake’s passing away, his family plans to keep his stall vacant as an expression of respect and create a memorial brick featuring his image and name outside. All who knew and loved Big Jake will miss him dearly.
What he ate
Big Jake made an immediate impression upon entering his family home, as his breeders, the Belgian draft horse breeders. These horses are known for their size, strength and pulling power; at birth Big Jake weighed approximately 100 pounds more than an average Belgian foal at birth.
Big Jake began being measured officially in January 2010. His owners from Smokey Hollow Farm approached Guinness World Records with their documentation of Big Jake as evidence, taking several weeks before ultimately declaring him the tallest horse on record.
He stood six feet 10 inches and three quarters, from hooves to the crown of his head and neck. Additionally, he weighed 2,500 pounds.
Big Jake’s owners kept a careful watch over his diet to prevent excess strain on his joints from his weight. They fed him two buckets of grain every day as well as one bale of hay each time.
Care was taken not to allow him to become too fat, as this would have had a detrimental impact on his quality of life. After his passing away, his stall will remain vacant with an engraved brick outside commemorating him and featuring his name and picture.
How he was cared for
Imagined: An 1850 Shire gelding stood 7 feet 2 1/2 inches and weighed over 2,500 pounds – this may come to mind, but there’s another giant horse: Big Jake is an outstanding 20-year-old Belgian Draft who was certified by Guinness as being world’s tallest in 2010. Smokey Hollow Farm in Poynette Wisconsin had Big Jake certified as their tallest in 2010. At 6 foot 10 inches and over 250 pounds this 20-year-old had become their tallest horse at Smokey Hollow Farm at 6 foot 10 inches while Big Jake stood 6 foot 10 inches at Smokey Hollow Farm where Big Jake stood.
Big Jake was a hit at horse shows and school visits for the Gilberts. Their family bred this giant steed themselves, knowing even at his birth in Nebraska weighing 240 pounds that it was special compared to what would typically be seen from Belgian foals.
Family members were careful to provide enough food for this massive equine as to not let him become too fat. He received one bale of hay and 24 quarts of grain per day, plus water. His 20x20ft stall was three times larger than typical stables for normal-sized horses.
After Big Jake passed, his owners, the Gilberts, decided to honor his memory by keeping his stall empty and placing a brick with his name and photo outside. Their goal is to turn this stall into a horse museum where visitors may come and view Big Jake’s remains.
Where he lived
While most draft horses are known for their strength and height, Big Jake was even bigger. Standing 6 foot 10 inches without his head or neck and weighing 2,500 pounds without them both included, Guinness recognized him as the world’s tallest horse in 2010. As part of their family legacy, Gilberts will honor Big Jake by placing a brick bearing his name and picture at their farm.
Big Jake was born in 2001 and quickly proved himself an exceptional specimen from day one, weighing in at approximately double his average birthweight for his breed. This unusual size came from both of his parents being average-sized horses. To accommodate him properly, special accommodations were made – including providing him with twice-sized stalls, daily bales of hay deliveries and semi-trailer transport to move him about.
Big Jake was a popular crowd favorite at fairs and other events despite his large size, regularly competing in draft horse shows at Wisconsin State Fair as he delighted audiences everywhere he appeared. Big Jake passed away peacefully at Smokey Hollow Farm in 2021 where he is laid to rest today as an amazing ambassador for horses who will surely be missed by everyone who knew him.