- Andrew Shirley
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The governing body for Shires Horses is the Shire Horse Society. http://www.shire-horse.org.uk/.
In 1881, four gentlemen founded a Society, with the aim of improving the standard of Shire Horses in the Ashbourne area. Originally known as the Ashbourne Cart Horse Society, later that year, they held their first a Show on the Paddock, at Ashbourne. Shortly after, the name was changed to the Ashbourne Shire Horse Society.
This was probably prompted by and in conjunction with the founding of The Shire Horse Society in 1878, to protect the breed that was then known as the Old English Breed of Cart Horse.
Over the years both Society’s have worked hard to ensure that the breed continues to grow and to maintain interest in these magnificent horses.
The Shire Horse Society summarise definition of a good Shire is as follows :–.
A good Shire Stallion should stand from 17.0 hands (173 cms) upwards, and weigh from 18 cwt (900 Kg) to 22 cwt (1100 Kg) when matured, without being overdone in condition.
He should possess a masculine head and a good crest with sloping, not upright, shoulders running well into the back, which should be short and well coupled with the loins. The tail should be well set up and not what is known as “goose rumped”.
Both head and tail should be carried erect. The ribs should be well sprung, not flat sided, with good middle which generally denotes good constitution. A Stallion should have good feet and joints; the feet should be wide and big around the top of the coronets with sufficient length in the pasterns.
When in motion, he should go with force using both knees and hocks, which latter should be kept close together, he should go straight and true before and behind.
A good Stallion should have strong character.
A Mare should be on the quality side, long and deep with free action, of a feminine and matronly appearance, standing from 16 hands (163 cms) and upwards on short legs.
She should have plenty of room to carry her foal.