Worlds Largest Horses
Digger - Photo of the World's largest horse? Well, Digger, at only four years old (a teenager in equine terms), currently measures 19 hands and 2 inches, and is Britain’s largest horse. This huge Clydesdale is eating and growing his way into becoming contender for the world’s record largest steed. Digger is so large that his handler, Lisa McFarlane, has difficulty recording his exact size. With his head up, Digger measures close to 9 feet tall. (Horses are conventionally measured in 4 inch ‘hands’ from the ground to the withers; the highest point of the back just before the animal’s neck). In Digger’s case, that’s about 6 feet 6 inches. He measures 8 feet 5 inches (3.05 meters) from his ears to the top of his tail, and his hooves are 15 inches (35 centimeters) across. Digger is now ‘neck and neck’ with Cracker and Tina, contending for the title. Cracker is a Shire horse in Lincolnshire who measured 19 hands and 2 inches in 2005. Tina is a Shire from Tennessee (USA), and was dubbed the tallest horse in the world last year, standing in at 20 hands. Digger, the floppy-fringed Shire horse was an orphan and didn’t have the best start in life. Due to serious health problems, his owners could no longer care for Digger, so he was taken to the International League for the Protection of Horses’ Belwade Farm in Aboyne, Scotland, shortly before Christmas. Despite his “ruff start”, Digger has grown strong and healthy, weighing 1,980 pounds (900 kilos), eating 3 times more than an ordinary horse, and drinking between 20 to 25 gallons of water a day. He devours 42 to 55 pounds (19 to 25 kilos) of food a day, including 3 servings of cereal grain, and chomps through a 4 foot bale of hay every 2 days. Treats include his daily morning chocolate muffin, plus gifts from visitors — about 4 apples or carrots per day. At night Digger is covered with a 7 foot 9 inch long blanket to keep warm. The strapping stallion is so large that he has to be transported by a specialized truck. Farm manager Eileen Gillen said, “He is the largest horse we have ever had. He is the equivalent of a growing teenage boy (never out of the fridge). Heaven knows what size he is going to end up.” Though some may find Digger’s size daunting and intimidating, he’s made best friends at the farm with Sweep — a 12 year old mini Shetland pony who stands merely 34 inches (85 centimeters) tall and can walk straight under Digger’s belly. Clydesdale horses originated from the valley of the River Clyde and developed as a breed in the early 1700’s. They have typically been used as work horses on farms and for long distance haulage, due to their magnitude in size and muscular power. The average Clydesdale’s life span is between 20 to 25 years.