A champion ambassador for the breed, Fox Valley Oliver, an 18-hand Shire owned by Kathy Whitaker of Flying Feathers Farm in New Providence, PA, excels in halter and driving competitions as well as in the sport of combined driving. From 2000 to 2003, he earned several reserve championships in the U.S. and Canada and was named Senior Champion Stallion at the Ohio State Fair in 2003. He has sired many champions as well: Best American Bred Stallion at the Ohio State Fair in 2002 and 2003 Grand Champion Stallion, Junior Champion Stallion and Reserve Champions at the Ohio State Fair in 2002 Grand Champion Stallion and Junior Champion Stallion at the Ohio State Fair in 2003 Senior Champion Stallion at the McLeod County Fair in 2004 second place in Get of Sire at the Keystone International Livestock Exposition in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2000 and 2005. |
Much of the history of the Shire horse is a mystery, but its lineage is believed to have begun with England's "Great Horse," bred with height and strength to carry upwards of 400 pounds in war. Later, the Shire's role in society changed, like many draft horses, to farming and carriage driving. As cross-breeding enhanced many of the breed's physical characteristics, its name endured several changes as well: the Black Horse, the Bakewell Black, and English Cart Horse. The latter was accepted by the pedigree society, established in 1878, black was considered a misnomer. The breed's name was changed finally to "Shire" in 1884, and the pedigree society became known as the Shire Horse Society. Since then, the Shire has been used to improve the bloodlines of many other draft breeds. The American Shire Horse Association was established in 1885 to promote the breed in the United States. Considered to be the tallest of all draft breeds, the Shire can measure up to18 hands 6 ft. or taller. Weighing in at around 2,000 pounds, it's a popular horse for pulling and plowing competitions. The Shire's coat colors range from black to brown, bay or gray and the long, white hair that grows at the base of the legs, known as feathers, is a common feature in many draft breeds.
Recommended age: 8 and Up