The Clydesdale horse was a wonderful sight working in and around East Lothian up until the 1950/60s, they were used in agriculture and logging as well as driving.

At Amisfield Mains farm – Haddington. 1930’s

The Clydesdale was originally bred for heavy farm and industrial work, although its open hooves were better suited to city work than narrow arable furrows. It is noted for its high stepping, showy action, which makes it one of the most elegant heavy horses.

The “showing ” of Clydesdale horses was an annual event in the farm calendar.

The Clydesdale stands on average 16.2hh, although some animals are taller. It has a long straight nose, big ears and a well-arched long neck. Its well defined withers and short back makes it a powerful workhorse. Quarters should be long, thighs strong, hocks broad and clean. The legs should be well endowed with fin silky feather. The colour is bay, brown or black with much white on the face and legs, often running into the body to give a roan appearance. Chestnuts are rarely seen.

Photo taken in Clerkington Estate – Haddington – 15th June 2020

Clydesdale History. The Clydesdale breed was founded in the early 1800’s when 2 breeders, John Paterson of Lochlyoch and the 6th Duke of Hamilton, imported Flemish stallions and bred them with native draught mares in the Clyde Valley.

Photo- At Myles Farm – East Lothian 1950’s

At its peak, Scotland had around 140,000 farm horses plus an unknown number in towns and cities., most of which were Clydesdales …….. The breed was also exported to many countries. As with other draught breeds, numbers dwindled with the increased use of mechanical power.

Now we can only romanticise over these past times by admiring these beautiful and exquisite animals, ……. we are lucky in Haddington to see a few still on our door-step.

Photos – Irene Higgenbotham .