All about Clydesdale Weight – Ever look at a Clydesdale’s hooves? They’re probably bigger than your face! Can you imagine getting stepped on by those hooves? Ouch, it might break your toes! It makes you wonder how much exactly these gentle giants weigh.
All draft horses, including Clydesdales, have different average weights from a standard riding or “saddle” horse. This obviously, is because they’re built differently. Even so, weights in draft horses can vary from breed to breed, and even within breeds depending on the age and diet of specific horses.
In this article, I’ll be discussing the average weights of Clydesdale horses, in comparison to weights of saddle horses, and other draft horses, as well as discussing variants in weight within the Clydesdale breed.
Draft Horse Anatomy
When discussing the weight of a Clydesdale, the first thing you have to take into consideration is the anatomical shape of a Clydesdale, or, more generally speaking, the anatomical shape of a draft horse.
In contrast with a traditional riding or saddle horse, draft horses are tall at the withers, short in the back, and thick and wide everywhere else. Draft horses have a heavy, thick, and strong bone structure and frame that gives them the look we all known and recognize.
Because draft horses, including Clydesdales, are built with these features, they will weigh significantly more than a typical saddle horse.
Saddle Horse Weights
Every breed of horse has a different average weight. But, averages can be gleaned from the most common and heavily populated horse breeds. For example, I used the Thoroughbred as my example when compiling this research.
The Thoroughbred weighs approximately 1,000 pounds. I would estimate that this is a good average weight for a riding or “saddle” horse. Obviously, weight is dependent on breed and subjective circumstances such as diet and age, but 1,000 pounds is a good starting point for an average horse.
If you are interested in learning more about average weights of specific breeds, EquiAnalytical has a fantastic resource to do so at the following link.
Draft Horse Weights
Some examples of draft horse breeds, aside from the Clydesdale, include the American Belgian, the Percheron, and the Suffolk. These breeds average 1896 pounds, 1896 pounds, and 1698 pounds respectively.
While the Belgian, Percheron and Suffolk are built similarly to the Clydesdale, not all breeds are created equally. The differences in their weight can be due to differences in average height, average width, and other external factors.
Again, if you are interested in learning the exact specifications (i.e.- height and weight and different scales), utilize EquiAnalytical’s equine height and weight breed chart at the following link.
Average Clydesdale Weight
The average weight of a Clydesdale is approximately 2,000 pounds. As can be guessed, Clydesdales can be some of the tallest and biggest draft horses in existence. They range anywhere from 1600-2400 pounds at their peak, depending on each individual horse.
Not only is the average weight of a Clydesdale double the average weight of a typically saddle horse (i.e.- a Thoroughbred, for this article’s purposes), but it is also a few hundred pounds more than most of its draft horse relatives.
A significant part of a Clydesdale’s weight has to do with its height. Stallions and geldings stand between 17 and 19 hands high, and mares stand between 16 and 18 hands high.
While Clydesdales are one of the largest and heaviest draft breeds today, this has not always been the case. In the 1920s through the 1940s, the Clydesdale was considered a more compact and small breed of a draft horse.
However, beginning in the 1940’s Clydesdale breeders used selective breeding to try to increase the size of their horses. They were clearly successful, both in making the breed bigger and in creating a breed that people were drawn to.
Clydesdale Weight Variants
As stated early, we can derive averages all we want, but there are always going to be outliers in both directions of measurements. Meaning that some Clydesdales will be under 1600 pounds, and some will be over 2400 pounds, no matter how rare these occurrences may be.
Many factors can contribute to varying weights in horses, but two of the most common factors are age and diet.
Clydesdales are not going to weight the same when they’re two as when they’re ten, and when they’re ten as when they’re twenty. Obviously foals, yearlings, and young horses who are still growing will not reach their peak weight until they stop growing. For this reason, they will be on the low end of the average.
Similarly, horses tend to drop weight as they get older and begin losing muscle from being less fit. So, senior Clydesdale horses may also fall under the low end of the spectrum of average weights.
Diet can influence the weight of a Clydesdale in both directions. If a Clydesdale doesn’t have enough access to certain elements of his normal diet (i.e.- hay, grain, grass), then he may fall on the lower end of the averages.
However, the opposite can be the case as well. If a Clydesdale has too much access to certain elements of his diet, he may become overweight, and land on the higher end of the averages.
So, yes, we can estimate that Clydesdale horses weigh about 2,000 pounds, enough to break your toes if they step on you! But, each horse’s weight is a subjective matter that depends on the situation and individual personalities of the horses.
Clydesdales are one of the largest draft horse breeds, and as such, they are one of the heaviest draft horse breeds! Thankfully, they are gentle giants, and their size is the only intimidating characteristic they have.
I hope this article helped you learn about the average weight of Clydesdale horses! If so, please share it, and share with us your experiences with Clydesdales or other draft breeds in the comments!