by John Sparks
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All photographs and articles copyright John Sparks 2020
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POINTS OF THE SHIRE
BACK - Stong, Muscular, Compack
HIND QUARTERS - Long, Sweeping,
Wide and full of Muscle
LOINS - High standing and
roundly muscled to deliver power
HEIGHT - Average height about 18
hands but may be more
WEIGHT - 17 - 22 CWTS
LEGS - Clean cut sinews like fine
cords, well clear of the cannon bone,
Forelegs set within the shoulders for
maximum tractive power.
FEET - Deep, solid and preferable
not too wide. Thick walls, open
coronets ( where hoof joins limb )
HEAD - Lean but broad between the
slightly prominent eyes. "Roman"
( convex curved ) nose. Thin wide
nostrils, Lips together. Ears long,
cleanly modelled and alert.
THROAT - Clean and lean.
NECK - Fairly long, arched
SHOULDERS - Deep, oblique and
wide enough to support the collar
GIRTH - Up to eight feet
COATS - Bays, Black, or Grey,
always with "feathers" (silky hairs)
on fetlocks, Hair fine, short,
straight and silky
RIBS - Round, deep and well sprung.
ACTION - Well balanced, lively and
Of all of the heavy horses, the Shire Horse is the largest - at least 16.2 hands high but can be as much as 19 hands. Typically it is 18 hands. ( This is 6 feet - and measurement is taken from the withers or shoulders).
The shire Horse weighs about a ton and is immensely strong and powerful, but these qualities are combined with gentleness, patience and docility - the Gentle Giant.