The Clydesdale today

A Clydesdale should have a nice open forehead, broad between the eyes, a flat profile, wide muzzle, large nostrils, a bright clear intelligent eye, big ears and a well arched long neck springing out of an oblique shoulder with high withers.

A Clydesdale will normally stand between 17 hh and 18 hh with some mares being slightly smaller and some stallions and geldings being slightly bigger.

The back should be strong and the horse should have good spring and depth of rib. The quarters should not only be long, but well-muscled, the Clydesdale is after all a draught horse. The most common colours are bay and brown with white markings, but blacks, roans and chestnuts are occasionally seen. The white markings are characteristic and it is the exception to see a Clydesdale without a white blaze and considerable amount white on its feet and legs.

The feather on the Clydesdale should be plentiful and silky to touch. It should be attached to limbs of strong, quality flat bone with the legs set close together. The distance from the hock to the pastern should be lengthy, with an absence of a second thigh above the hock. This contributes to the unique action of the Clydesdale which should be free moving at both the walk and trot.

The popularity of the Clydesdale grows continually, but despite this there are still only around 250 foals recorded in the stud book each year.

Clydesdales in the 21st century are not only being used for their traditional purposes of driving, farm work and logging but they have become more and more popular for riding, with Clydesdale ridden classes now being included at many shows along with the in hand classes. 

People with a love of the Clydesdale are not only rediscovering uses for the breed, but the associated skills such as harness making and shoeing.