A LITTLE HISTORY
Shires were used in the 16th century with paintings dating back to the 15th century that show them in the perfection of form. The Shire horse was used as a war-horse. Most people believe, and the story is told, that it was the Shire that was used by the knights, as they rode into battle, dressed in heavy armour with sword and lance poised. However, with the passing of the tournament and heavily armored knight, the ancestor of the Shire Horse was put to work in harness pulling carts over rough roads and plows on the farm. The Shire became the largest and most powerful draft horse in Britain. It was, and still is, used by brewers in cities in stylish teams to pull beer wagons, in weight-pulling competition and in plowing competition.
The Shire was found and developed in all parts of England, but the counties of Lincoln, Derby, Cambridge, Norfolk, Nottingham, Leicester and Huntington, were the special homes. These are presently termed as the Midlands. History mentions the horse by different names notably, the Great Horse, the War-Horse, the Cart Horse, the Old England Black Horse, the Lincolnshire Giant as well as the Shire.
Like the other standard draft breeds, the Shire was improved by the infusion of outside blood at various times in history, notably that of the north German Flemish horses (Belgian) and the horses of Flanders. Reasonably good records exist, dating back nearly 1000 years. During this time outside blood continued to influence the breed as breeders were not hampered by a breed registry and no limits were imposed.