Horses come in all shapes and sizes, from miniature to enormous, so here, we will look at how the Clydesdale horse compared to a normal horse. The term normal is relative, every horse is normal. But in some ways, the Clydesdale is very different from a regular horse.
What Is A Clydesdale?
Before we dive into the differences between a Clydesdale and a normal horse, let’s take a look at the breed. A Clydesdale is a draft horse breed. Draft horses developed before their sportier cousins that we see today.
Draft horses started out as war horses. Their size, strength, and calm temperament suited long rides and chaotic environments. When the need for a lighter calvary horse came into fashion, the draft horse found itself working on farms.
The Clydesdale originated in Scotland in the 18th century. Native horses did not have the size and strength required, so draft breeds were imported from the continent and crossed with natives. After strategic breeding came the Clydesdale horse which is one of the biggest horse breeds in the world.
Clydesdale Size Comparison
The Clydesdale is a large horse that, on average, stands 17 to 18 hands tall. This is much larger than a normal horse, which we will cover shortly. Their average weight is an incredible 2,000 pounds.
The majority of Clydesdales are bay with white leg and face markings. All Clydesdales have feathers on their legs. The breed is incredibly strong, with heavy muscling, and compact bodies.
While once very popular, the Clydesdale and other draft breeds declined in population after the industrial revolution. Due to this, the breed is at risk. The breed is protected and promoted by various societies.
Of all the draft breeds, the Clydesdale is the most recognizable. It is famous for pulling the Budweiser beer wagon, which is seen at events all around the United States. While not so much the Clydesdale, the draft horse heavily influences today’s modern sport horse.
It is the draft horse that breeders refined into lighter, more athletic animals suitable for sporting activities. Even though it is possible to ride a Clydesdale, they best suit work pulling carts, wagons, and plows.
Clydesdale Size vs Regular Horse
What is a normal horse? This is a broad term since even within a normal horse, characteristics can vary greatly. However, some characteristics stay the same across the board.
The average horse stands between 15 and 17 hands tall, with most in the 16 to 16.2 hand ranges. Anything 14.2 and below is a pony. Clydesdale next to regular horse – the average horse weighs 900 to 1,200 pounds, half the weight of a Clydesdale.
Most normal horses are a type of warm blood or hot blood. A draft horse, like the Clydesdale, is cold blood. In the strict sense, blood type simply refers to the temperament and energy of the horse.
A normal horse is not only shorter than a Clydesdale, it is also lighter with finer bone and proportions. Normal horses have a sportier physique, with quicker reflexes. They also can move at faster speeds.
Normal horses do not possess as much raw power as a Clydesdale. Even though many normal horses can capably pull a carriage, they do not have the power or stamina to work long hours pulling heavy loads.
The draft horse, like the Clydesdale, has to feather on its legs. This is the long, thick hair you see on the lower leg. A normal horse does sometimes grow longer hair on its lower leg, but it is minuscule compared to the Clydesdale.
The Clydesdale has a temperament in line with all draft breeds. This is a calm and gentle nature that is not easily upset. A normal horse, especially hot blood, is more energetic and sometimes even fiery.
Despite its intimidating size, the Clydesdale is a good horse for timid handlers, since it is less likely to overreact to stimuli. This is much different to hot blood horses, like the Thoroughbred and Arabian, who have lots of energy and spirit.
Interesting Clydesdale Facts
- One of the tallest modern Clydesdales is Remington. Remington stood at an impressive 20 hands. Several decades earlier, another Clydesdale, at the start of the 20th century, King LeGear, was 20.5 hands tall. He weighed in at 2,950 pounds.
- Another modern Clydesdale, Poe, stands at 20.2 hands tall and weighs 3,000 pounds.
- All draft breeds have leg feathering, but Clydesdale has the most.
- Today, the Clydesdale population is around 5,000.
A normal horse and Clydesdale both require that same care all horses need. A Clydesdale horse, compared to a normal horse will need larger stables, higher calorie intake, and specific shoe designs. The Clydesdale is much larger and calmer than a normal horse in most cases.
So, while the Clydesdale is different from a normal horse in many ways, it is still just a horse.