Everyone loves the Heavy Horses who built our nation
The working horses who helped build our nation were on show.
Everyone loves big, gentle, draught horses and you could get up close to Sam the Clydesdale at the Clydesdale display area near the Carnival rides.
You could also pat Charlie, another majestic Clydesdale, who appeared in Saturday’s Horse Experience Show. in the Main Arena.
Heavy horse breeds in Australia include Draught Horses, Clydesdales, Percherons, Shires, Drum Horses and Gypsy Cobs. The romance and bravery of their story has endured through history.
They are descended from the giant steeds who carried the knights in the middle ages to the Crusades and other legendary battles.
Heavy, powerful mounts were required to carry the man and his heavy armour and the Great Horse of Flanders evolved and is said to be an ancestor of many of our current breeds.
English and Flemish cart breeds were reported to have been introduced to Australia in 1826 but were found to be too heavy for working in our climate. Transporting them across the seas was no easy task.
In Australia, the Gold Rush years of the 1850s eventually saw the development of the Clydesdale in New South Wales and Victoria while other breeds were being used for farming, construction and transportation in the rest of Australia.
After the Great War and the loss of many brave men and horses, there was a decline in heavy horse breeding but somehow, the various bloodlines were saved and improved.
As the automotive industry gradually took over and, from the 1950s, cars and trucks began superseding the mighty horses on the streets and in the fields.
Today, however, heavy horse numbers are increasing once again as they appear in several niche markets. Their power and beauty, once used to pull ploughs and other farm equipment, now might pull a beer wagon in a parade or a haycart ride at a show.
They are a major equine attraction at the many agricultural shows and field days held across the country and Sam the Clydesdale is a beloved St Ives Show regular.