Shire Horse

Equus caballus

Mammal | England

Animal Info

These big, magnificent animals bring so much to our Zoo. We couldn’t be luckier to have local community equine experts who help us love and care for them!

Shire horses were a highly used horse throughout Europe up until World War I and II. After these wars, improvements in mechanization caused demand for these horses to drop, a population of 550,000 in 1939 to a population of around 5,000 in 1972, near extinction.

They boast a proud heritage in the middle ages. The “Great War Horses” these horses are descended from are said to be those that Roman armies of antiquity and English heavily armored knights of the middle ages rode into battle. These knights in full plate armor often weighed in excess of 400 pounds!

Diet

In the wild: Wild grasses

At the Zoo: Timothy/alfalfa hay daily with grain, treats, and fresh produce as enrichment or reward

Habitat

Domestic

Conservation Status

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – not evaluated