I’m a Paso Fino sized gal. I fit best in saddles sized for youth. If I’m riding in an arena and I’m wearing a jacket and helmet I’m often mistaken for a child. For the longest time I thought I’d get a nose bleed when I rode a horse over 15 hands. And now I own a Clydesdale. And I’m having the time of my life!
Raleigh, my bay roan Clyde, recently turned three. He’s right around 16 hands. His half sister that’s a year younger is already taller than he is. My fingers are slightly crossed that his growth spurts have ended. I know he’ll expand width wise but I’m very curious as to to when he’ll reach his final height.
Speaking of height, here’s the story of Remington, a Clydesdale that’s in the running for the world’s tallest horse. He’s 20 hands!
After I read this, I got a little concerned and decided to stop giving Raleigh his vitamins. Just kidding.
Whatever height Raleigh decides on will be fine with me. He’s an extraordinary fellow. Not a day goes by where I don’t stand next to him and pause for a moment of awe. His feet are 8″ across, his cannon bones are over 9″ around, and his head is it’s own entity. I don’t need to bend at all to groom his under belly. He’s like a carport with legs.
Trimming his feet has been a blast for me. There’s no bending there either. I thought for sure trimming a draft horse would wreak havoc on my back but it’s actually easier. If he gets much taller I may have to make him stand in a ditch or I’ll have to wear platform shoes. The only thing that it adversely effects are my rasps. With no exaggeration his one hoof is the size of two Paso Fino feet.
A benefit I didn’t expect was in the confidence department. My comfort-level-size horse has always been around 14:2 hands. Now, because of my work with Raleigh, I’m no longer as intimidated as I used to be around the 16-handers.
I guess what’s happening is that I have a new appreciation for the beauty of a heavy horse. I love his balance and symmetry of his jumbo sized joints. I even find his Roman nose beautiful. Oh, and when he gallops about, he lifts those forelegs high and the ground shakes.
Here is my latest favorite video: Ridden Clydesdales
True, Raleigh’s physical attributes have left me awe inspired, but not nearly as much as his temperament. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve owned him since he was 15-months-old, or Clydes are just super dreamy, but he’s by far most attentive, focused and perceptive of the herd. I can shape a new behavior with him in often less than three repetitions.
I wonder if it’s because he’s got a really big brain inside that really big head that gives him his intellectual edge. I’ve never experienced a horse whose skills rival that of an agility dog. He heels, climbs, stays, lays down, retrieves and comes when called better than any dog I’ve owned. Needless to say sharing my life with him has surprised me in a big way.