Monday, July 14, 2008

Is the Biggest Horse Around Here the Biggest in the World?

Shoeless or shod, New Hampshire's "Tex" is pretty big. But is he big enough? (Concord Monitor photo)

To make it into the Guinness Book of World Records, a Belgian pulling horse named Tex had to have his shoes pulled. Farrier Rick Sharp pulled the shoes for an official measuring ceremony recently. Guinness requires that the horse be measured both with and without shoes.

According to the Concord Monitor newspaper, the six-year-old Belgian stands about 7 feet, 6 inches from hoof to head and weighs 2,450 pounds. This hoof is ten inches across, according to the article.

Tex is trying to tower over Radar, a Belgian in Texas who currently holds the Guinness honors, according to the newspaper. It's not clear whether Guinness goes by the overall height of the horse or the actual hands at the withers. His owners are hoping he makes 20 hands.

Shire horses in Australia and England are also trying to claim the title.

You can see why Guinness requires the shoes to be pulled before a horse is measured. This is not Tex, but another very large Belgian pulling horse that I saw worked on at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky a few years ago. Tex is probably shod in a similar way for the competition season. This horse had laminitis, but farrier Aaron Gygax managed to get him sound enough to keep pulling. This horse was shod in a very low-tech way for a high-tech place like Rood and Riddle: Aaron made the horse's new shoes. In this photo, you see his old shoes. I think he could climb telephone poles, too.

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