Queen’s Jubilee To Include England’s Tallest Horse
The English royal family has always been heavily involved in horses, from the Queen owning race horses, to Prince Charles on polo ponies, to Princess Anne competing in equestrian events in the Olympics.
However, the love of horses will rise to new heights during the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years of reign. During the Jubilee parade, in June, 2012, Digger, an 8 year-old giant Clydesdale, is set to be the drum horse in the parade.
Drum horses must be exceptionally placid by nature. Not only do they have to cope with cheering and unpredictable crowds, they have to happily march along with the drummer in the saddle loudly beating solid silver drums, very close the sensitive ears of the horse.
Digger, the biggest horse in Britain, stands close to 3 metres tall, when his head is held up high. He weighs in at a massive 904 kilo. Clydesdales live to around 25 years of age.
He is not a cheap horse to keep, as he eats up to 25 kilo of food and guzzles 94 litres of water daily. At night he is covered with a blanket measuring nearly 2.6 metres long. He gets daily treats of a chocolate muffin in the morning, plus four apples or carrots from visitors during the day.
Digger came from humble beginnings, being homeless and lame. Orphaned as a foal, he was rescued in 2008 by World Horse Welfare. He was suffering from stringhalt and ostechondrosis dissecans, issues that created lameness in his hind legs.
Digger underwent surgery at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal Veterinary School. Operating on a horse that size was no mean task for the university’s vets, who knew from the start that leg lameness is very difficult to cure.
More than a year of extensive rehabilitation followed. In spite of everything, Digger grew to a height of a massive 19 hands.
Australian 9 year-old Shire stallion, Luscombe Nordram, is currently said to be the world’s tallest living horse. ‘Noddy’, as Luscombe Nordram is fondly called, stands at 20.2 hands tall (2,057 metres) and weights over 1300 kgs. Noddy has outgrown all his harnesses.
“He sounds like a mountain moving when he gallops across the paddock to come and get his breakfast,” said Jane Greenman, his owner.
The largest horse ever recorded was Samson, born in 1846. Samson stood at 21.2 ½ hands high and weighed 3,360 lbs, (1496 kilos).