The Clydesdale is Scotland’s heavy horse, dating back to the beginning of the 18th century when Flemish stallions were brought to the Clyde Valley of Lanarkshire. The Clydesdale is ideally suited for draft work as it is known for its willingness and high energy. Historically this big breed was used for farming but was powerful enough to work in coal mines and logging camps as well. The Canadian Clydesdale Horse Association was formed in 1886. According to horse historian Merlin Ford, during the 1920s approximately 18,000 Clydesdales were registered in Canadian stud books; however, the total Clydesdale population would be a fair bit higher since the stud books include only the foals that were born and registered, and does not factor in the number of unregistered mature horses. As of December 2010, a total of 34,929 stallions and 73,516 mares were registered with the Clydesdale Horse Association of Canada.
Originally used for farming, mining, and logging, today the Clydesdale can often be seen in parades and at heritage parks. Pictured are the famous Budweiser Clydesdales hitch on display in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Photo: Pam MacKenzie Photography