Christmas Charity Focus: The Clydesdale Horse Society

It's the most wonderful time of the year again when we get to launch our fabulous Christmas card collection and support some deserving organisations. As usual, here at Whistlefish we have chosen some very worthy causes to support with a donation arising from the sales of our festive selection. We wanted to spend some time getting to know each of these organisations, what they do and how you can support them.

Let's find out more about The Clydesdale Horse Society....

Formally launched in June 1877, the aim of the society is to maintain the purity of the breed and promote the Clydesdale Horse.

The History of the Clydesdale Horse

 A native breed of Scotland, it was founded in Lanarkshire, with Clydesdale being the old name for this district of the country. Dating back to the 18th century, the native horses of Lanarkshire were graded up in an effort to produce greater weight by the use of Flemish stallions. The first stallion can be traced back to the early 1800's, with the Lochlyloch bloodline becoming one of the most sought after pedigrees.

Over the next 100 years, the number of Clydesdales grew with a large number of the best stallions being exported annually to Australia and New Zealand. In Scotland at its peak there were around 140,000 farm horses plus an unknown number in towns and cities that were Clydesdales in whole or part. It reached its peak in 1911 when 1617 stallions were exported. Three years later came the beginning of the First World War, with Clydesdale horses being conscripted by the army to serve for their country.

By the beginning of the Second World War the agricultural industry was evolving and the productivity required to achieve the outputs required meant that horse power was replaced by mechanical power and the breed numbers started to dwindle. This continued through the 1960s and early 1970s, and by 1975 the Clydesdale was categorised by the Rare Breed Survival Trust as 'vulnerable'. But with the continued work of those committed to the breed, the numbers of Clydesdales has started to increase, and they are now categorised as 'at risk'.

Clydesdale Horse Society stallion show

The Clydesdale breed today

Standing between 17hh and 18hh, the Clydesdale is most commonly bay and brown with its characteristic white markings and it is very unusual to see one of the breed without the white blaze and the white around its feet and legs. 

Its popularity is continuing to grow but with only around 250 foals being recorded in the stud book each year, the breed is still very much at risk. Although some are still being used for their traditional roles on the farm, driving and logging work, people with a love of the horses are finding new ways to work with the breed, such as riding them and featuring them at associated shows.

It's also been announced that the World Clydesdale Show will be coming to Scotland in 2022 and although in the early stages of planning, it is hoped the event will be a great opportunity to bring together Clydesdale enthusiasts to celebrate this wonderful breed.

The Clydesdale Horse Society

If you'd like to find out more about the important work carried out by The Clydesdale Horse Society, you can find out more information on their website

We're delighted to be supporting the Society this year with some of the proceeds from the sale of our 2020 Christmas card collection. You can view the full collection here