Are Shire Horses Good for Riding? (7 Remarkable Reasons)

Black shire horse runs free on the ranch

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The image of a quarterhorse or shiny thoroughbred that comes to you immediately when you think of riding a horse is probably the one you have in mind. But what of the shire horse breed? Are these traditional workhorses suitable for riding?

The enormous shire horse is a descendant of the knightly charger known as the Great Horse from medieval times.

Even by the 19th century, these huge horses were mainly used to transport freight during the industrial revolution in Britain. But as time has passed, it is clear that people have begun to ride this breed.

Knowing whether shire horses are good for riding is essential if you wish to place your riding abilities into practice.

Why don’t you keep reading to see if you can ride these gentle giants?

What Makes Shire Horses Good for Riding

1. They Have Good Work Ethic

Trotting Shire Horse

The shire is hard to beat regarding strength and work ethic. He is eager to please and is a quick learner. This draft horse, used primarily for plowing or driving, is appropriate for coaching as a riding horse. He can work for extended periods inside the field, on the road, or while mounted. 

2. They are the Most Gentle Horse to Ride

Shires usually get along well with people and have a favorable attitude. Such big horses should be docile, or handling them would be risky. Before the invention of the automobile, this breed was used to pull omnibuses through major cities, which may have contributed to their calm persona.

Furthermore, once properly trained, shires are polite and can be ridden by riders of any experience level, even beginners. 

The breed is favored for therapeutic riding because of its exceptional movement and kind, gentle nature.

3. They Have a Wide Back

A brown horse with a white spot on the nose

The Shire horse’s large size is one of its distinguishing features. 

With horses typically measuring 16 to 17 hands tall, the shire horse ranks among the towering horse breeds worldwide. However, it is not unusual for most giant shire horses to get to heights of 18 hands or more.

Their size does present some challenges. The first difficulty is tacking your horse. Someone familiar with shire breeds will be able to help. The next challenge they pose is mounting due to their bulk.

The extraordinary height of this draft breed makes it nearly impossible for them to enter the saddle stirrups.

You’ll be able to appreciate their size once you’re in the saddle. 

Your legs are outstretched and elevated far above an animal of similar size. For tall people with long legs, the width of their back might be a comfortable seat.

4. They Have Long Strides

One of the most uncomplicated riding horses is the shire. The shires don’t jar their rider as they smoothly switch from walking to jogging to a slow loping walk. And with every one of their long strides, you quickly cover a significant amount of ground without even realizing it.

5. They Carry a lot of Weight

Shire horses are typically capable of carrying 400 lbs. Given that most Shires weigh more than 2,000 lbs, fit horses should only be burdened with up to 20% of their body weight.

Remember to factor in the saddle’s weight when calculating how much load to place on your horse. An English saddle weighs about 20 pounds, while a standard western saddle weighs 45 pounds.

Shire horses can support more than 20% of their weight. However, if you go over 20%, keep an eye out for signs that the horse isn’t overloaded. Excessive sweating, an elevated heartbeat, and an unexpected behavior change indicate that your horse is overworked.

6. They are Excellent for Trail Mounting

A brown horse with a white spot on the nose and white legs

Shire horses are patient and calm, which are necessary qualities in a horse for trail riding. Every year, I go on a few lengthy trail rides, and I’ve discovered that it’s crucial to ride a calm animal.

The unexpected barking of a dog, wild animal, or runaway horse will challenge you when riding in public areas. Riding a calm horse that won’t try to dart when provoked is essential because numerous strange things can occur on a trail ride.

Shire horses are calm animals. You will be grateful you are riding a shire horse when everyone else is struggling to keep their horses under control since a pack of dogs is growling at the horses.

7. They are Fast

The primary natural defense mechanism of horses is high speed. For centuries, racehorse breeders have used natural selection to breed their horses for speed. Despite not being the fastest horse breed, shire horses still run at an average speed of 35 miles per hour.

In Conclusion,

Shires can do more than pull heavy loads, contrary to popular belief. Removing is merely one of many activities this breed of horse performs. They are not only gentle, but they also have a calm temperament, making them ideal for riding.

Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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