Clydesdale horses are known for their elegant, high-stepping gait and their big feet that are often covered in silky feathering. These big, beautiful beasts are usually seen in parades and on television commercials for Budweiser. The breed originated in Scotland, where soldiers wearing heavy armor rode them into battle along the Clyde River. Today, the horses are bred and raised in many different states and provinces throughout the country. They’re used for a variety of tasks, including pulling breweries’ wagons and working on farms. The horses are very adaptable and can learn quickly. They also have a good disposition, which makes them perfect for children to ride.
They can come in all colors, although black and brown are the most popular. Most Clydesdales have a white face, foot, and blaze and are well-muscled with an arched neck and proud presence. They stand 17 to 18 hands tall and weigh 800 or more kilograms. They are considered to be a “fine” breed of heavy horse. Some of the most famous stallions to have graced the breed include Farmers Fancy, Glancer I, Keir Peggy, Darnley, MacGregor, Top Gallant, and Sir Everard.
The Commonwealth Clydesdale Horse Society is the governing body of the breed in Australia. It was formed in 1921 through a merger of several heavy horse groups. The society has a stud book and branches in most Australian states. The Queensland branch holds regular meetings and training days. Calvin Martin, president of the society’s Queensland branch, says that interest in the breed is stable. He acknowledges that some breeders are aging and that the future of the Clydesdale is in the hands of younger people.
Unlike other breeds that have been placed on the endangered list, such as the Thoroughbred, Clydesdales are not considered rare in Australia. A recent survey by the Rare Breeds Trust found that there are more than 3000 registered Clydesdales. The survey’s author praised the Commonwealth Clydesdale Horse Society for promoting the breed and keeping its numbers up.
Andrew Marriott, who owns the largest herd of Clydesdales in the state of Victoria, says that breeders have been able to increase their numbers recently. There has been a resurgence of interest in the brewery teams, which have become a big attraction at shows around the country. In addition, there are more ridden classes being offered at local shows.
Marriott said that preparation for the show season begins months in advance. The horses have to be schooled in how to work together as a team, and their manes and tails are trimmed and braided. Their distinctive hairy hocks are washed and polished until they shine. The season also coincides with foaling, so there’s an around-the-clock watch on expectant mares and newborn foals.
Ciara is an exceptionally bred filly from the Aarunga Stud in Victoria. Her dam is Aarunga Gina and her sire is Oakridge Speculator, one of the best stallions in the nation. He produced quality ridden and driving foals, with his progeny winning awards in Sydney, Melbourne, and across Australia.