Clydesdale Horse Temperament – A Gentle Giant!

Last Updated on April 4, 2022

Each breed of horse is very different in personality, with its own quirks and characteristics. Large, heavy, draft breeds such as Clydesdales have a reputation of being placid and quiet, but is this true? Let’s find out what a Clydesdale horse temperament is really like!

Clydesdale horses are one of the heavyweights of the equine world! They are an impressive sight indeed, with their huge bodies, feathered legs, and floating mane and tail. But are they as calm and quiet as they look? Let’s take a look at the temperament of Clydesdale horses and find out more about this wonderful breed.

What Is A Clydesdale Horse?

Clydesdale horses are a very large breed of horse, known as a draft breed. This refers to a type of horse that was used for heavy work such as pulling farm machinery. The Clydesdale is a very old breed of horse, used as a farm and workhorse for many years.

In modern times, you are more likely to see a Clydesdale horse at a farm park or petting zoo. Clydesdales are still a popular and much-loved breed of horse, even though they are not used for work much these days. The most famous Clydesdale horses are the ones used in the famous Budweiser horse-drawn parade!

Clydesdale Horse Characteristics

Clydesdale horses, like many coldblooded breeds of horses, are calm, dependable, and very gentle. Many people are frightened of their huge size at first, but these gentle giants quickly earn the trust of even the most nervous or inexperienced horse handler.

Clydesdale horses have many great characteristics and personality traits, and one of these is how easy they are to train. They are willing to please and enjoy time spent with humans. They are also very intelligent and will learn new things quickly.

This personality trait makes these large horses easier to handle and train than you might think. In fact, they are often used for novice or inexperienced handlers to learn how to train horses. For this reason, there is often a ‘young handler’ category at draft horse shows and events.

One of the great things about Clydesdale horses is that they adapt well to new situations. This means you can take your Clydesdale to shows and events and he will be calm and unflappable. More excitable breeds of horse can often be lively and unpredictable at shows, but not the Clydesdale.

The Clydesdale: Workhorse of the World

However, it is not all good news when it comes to Clydesdale’s personality traits! These enormous horses can be stubborn if they really don’t want to do something. This can make things tricky when you are trying to get a 2000-pound horse to move!

The Clydesdale horse can also have a bit of a fiery temper if pushed too far. This means that if your Clydesdale is trying to tell you he doesn’t like something, listen to him!

Is Clydesdale Temperament Different In Mares Vs Geldings?

Generally speaking, female and male horses have specific character traits and behaviors. Obviously, we are making huge generalizations here – there will always be exceptions to the rule! Most horse riders will have met mares who behave like geldings and vice versa.

Female horses, also known as mares, have a hormonal cycle that can affect their temperament and behavior. These hormones often give mares a reputation for being ‘moody’. The personality traits of mares also include boldness, stubbornness, and unpredictability.

In general, neutered male horses – also known as geldings – tend to have a placid and calm temperament. It is easier to predict their reactions and their mood and behavior does not alter much over time. Geldings have a reputation for being dependable, reliable, and even-headed.

And then we come to unneutered male horses – the wild stallions! These majestic horses have high levels of hormones during the breeding season and can be very excitable. This makes them very difficult and dangerous to handle.

Is Clydesdale Temperament Different In Mares Vs Geldings

So, this is what the different genders of the horse are like in general, but what about Clydesdale horses? Do they have different temperaments if they are mares, geldings, or stallions?

Luckily, these even-tempered horses are generally placid, whatever the gender! However, there could be some subtle differences which you need to be aware of.

  • Clydesdale Mares

Most Clydesdale mares are used for breeding, and they make excellent broodmares. They dote on their offspring and are tender and loving mothers.

When it comes to broodmares, it is very important to remember that they can be overprotective of their foals. This means that if they feel you are threatening their foal, they will do anything to try to protect it. So, your calm and placid Clydesdale mare could turn into an angry and aggressive mother!

  • Clydesdale Geldings

Of all the genders of Clydesdale horse, the gelding is normally the most placid and quiet. However, a young gelding will still have a playful and excitable nature, and can be quite lively! It is not unusual to see a group of young Clydesdale geldings playing together in the paddock.

As a Clydesdale gelding gets older, he will become more mature and sensible in nature. Older Clydesdale geldings are very placid and reliable and make fantastic horses for novice and inexperienced horse handlers.

Clydesdale Geldings
  • Clydesdale Stallions

Clydesdale stallions are generally very calm in temperament compared to other breeds of stallion. However, during the breeding season, their hormones will become very active, and they will get very excited when they see a mare. Only very experienced handlers and trainers should work with Clydesdale stallions during the breeding season.


So, as we’ve learned, the temperament of a Clydesdale horse is calm, dependable, and reliable breed of horse. These gentle giants are also very intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to handle and train. However, there are some variations in Clydesdale horse temperament when it comes to mares vs geldings.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about Clydesdale horse temperament. Have you ever met one of these gentle giants of the horse world? Or maybe you know a horse which is even calmer and more placid than a Clydesdale? Please add a comment below!

What is unique about Clydesdale horses?

The Clydesdale breed has enormous feet which are often describes as being as large as dinner plates. A horseshoe for a mature fully grown Clydesdale horse weighs five pounds, making it four times as large as a thoroughbred racehorse’s shoe. Despite having such big hooves, Clydesdale horses are famous for their high stepping gait, which makes them one of the most elegant heavy horses.
They are also known for their beauty and gentle temperament. Because of their characteristic features and good personality Clydesdale breed was chosen for the advertising campaign of a beer company Budweiser. 

How did the Clydesdale horse get its name?

The Clydesdale breed was named after the district in Scotland where it was developed. The breed was founded by farmers in Clydesdale (today’s Lanarkshire), through which the River Clyde flows. The river is named after a Celtic goddess, who used her powers to bring rain, fertility and life to the land. The Clydesdales are hardy animals, which can work well in all weathers. They are able to forage on grasslands, and will tolerate damp conditions as long as there is a plentiful supply of food to sustain their big size.

Is a Clydesdale a good first horse?

Clydesdales have a calm disposition, making them good for people who are just getting to know the equine world. They are usually friendly and willing to work, and they enjoy being around children. They have a friendly nature and do not tend to be aggressive unless provoked. These horses tend to be very tolerant of beginners mistakes. They are usually quite comfortable with most riders, as long as they respect them. Clydesdales are generally pretty good at following commands, and they are usually very patient. Their only drawback is their size. Because they are so big, might be more difficult to find a saddle that fit properly, and also tack sizing may be a bit more more challenging.

Are Clydesdales good for riding?

Clydesdales are very large horses that were originally bred for pulling loads and were primarily used in agriculture. However, today they are very often used for riding as they are very easy to train and have a specific high-stepping gait that is very valuable in the show ring. They are also excellent trail horses because they are calm and well-mannered. You can see Clydesdales perform in several equestrian disciplines including dressage, eventing, show jumping, and endurance riding.

What are Clydesdales good for?

The Clydesdale horse was originally bred as a heavy-duty draft horse in Scotland. They were used to pull coal barges through the rivers of the Scottish countryside, as well as to pull carts for farmers. Clydesdales are still used for draught purposes today, including agriculture, logging, and driving, but they can also be used as show horses or riding horses, as well as kept for pleasure. The Clydesdale is also an excellent horse for children and beginners. They are calm, patient, and intelligent, and they tend to bond easily with people.