Thundering hooves is a real thing; when these horses move it’s like a thunderstorm rumbling up from the earth.
There’s no mistaking a Clydesdale for any other breed of horse. That distinctive Roman nose, those blocky chests, those enormous feathered feet! They’re tall, they usually weigh about a ton (literally), and they have massive hooves, as large as serving platters.
Karen and Shannon Cobbs both hail from multi-generational Clydesdale families and are experts on this heavy-horse draft breed, among the largest equines in the world. The Cobbs were inducted into the Clydesdale Hall of Fame in 2018, and their farm, Grandview Clydesdales, is home to award-winning show horses. Their sons Nash, Hessten and Stone all assist on the farm, and 16-year old Nash is the most involved, working with the horses daily.
The Ocala team will be showing in the second annual Grandview Invitational Draft Horse Show, January 31st to February 2nd, 2020 at the Florida Horse Park. Dozens of hitch classes will be offered. Hitch classes have numerous variations with one to eight horses being driven.
“It really is like having a ball team,” Shannon Cobbs advises. “You’re only as strong as your weakest player.” A couple of rookies are sitting on the Grandview bench for now, but the core team just came off the summer show circuit and are raring to go again in January.
Here are some insights into draft horse lingo to help you enjoy the upcoming show.
Color: Clydesdales are usually bay (brown) in color, but roan, black, grey and chestnut also occur. For shows, the Grandview Clydesdales are dyed black.
Hands: Horses are measured in “hands,” each indicating 4 inches of height at the withers. So, the average quarter horse is about 15 hands, or 60 inches/5 feet tall at the withers. A Clydesdale of 19 hands is 76 inches/6-foot-4 tall at the withers.
Hitch class: Horses are hitched to a cart or wagon. Variations range from one to eight-horse hitches.
Lead: The front-most position in any hitch larger than two horses.
Swing: The middle horses in a large hitch; they need to have control and balance.
Wheel: The horses closest to the wheels. They are the braking action in a hitch team and are generally the largest of the horses.
Withers: The top of the shoulder blades where the neck and back meet.
Grandview Clydesdales is open for farm tours. To learn more, visit: www.grandviewclydesdales.tours
We’re proud to present to you the Ocala Grandview Clydesdales team!
A black roan, who drives in swing or lead position. Born in Quebec, he’s the French lovebird and “ladies’ man.” He was the Kiss the Horse for Literacy celebrity equine for the Marion County Literacy Council’s annual fundraiser, two years in a row, and took the title of National Champion in the Ladies Cart class. He’s 18 hands and weighs 1,970 pounds.
A bay with a blaze, who also works swing or lead. He is very loving fellow and has a somewhat childlike personality. Sometimes he is downright silly, often playing around with his tongue hanging out. He’d be the type to say, “Hey guys, check me out!” explains Karen. He stands 18.2 hands and weighs in at 2,000 pounds.
This hunk is true black with a blaze. He’s just as flashy as his appearance suggests. “He’s kinda like James Dean,” Shannon offers. Very talented and with lots of potential, his “frat boy” personality sometimes makes him a handful. Shannon adds, “You’d better be an experienced horseman to coach this guy!” He’s 18.2 hands and weighs 2,000 pounds.
The oldest on the team at age 10, he drives swing or lead. “Tiger is definitely the team captain and has opinions,” Shannon says. He’s a seasoned veteran and disapproves of other team horses acting up. He was named Best American Bred Gelding in halter. He stands 18.2 hands and weighs 2,100 pounds.
This bay is something of a serious fellow. Born in Illinois, he’s quiet, sophisticated, and “the Einstein” of the group, says Shannon. He takes training and showing seriously, puts his elegant Roman nose to the grindstone and gets to work right away. He’s 18.2 hands and weighs 2,000 pounds.
A bay/brown, he’s big and works as a wheel horse. “The proverbial bull in a china shop,” Shannon offers, he doesn’t know his own size. But he has the most potential of any horse of the team. He can also be a bit standoffish. He’s 19 hands and weighs 2,210 pounds.
He’s Vic’s brother and drives in the wheel position. As a wheeler, he’s one of the largest on the team. He’s very athletic. But Karen says he’s “the Jolly Green Giant that is scared of a mouse.” He has a lot of heart and always gives his best effort. He’s 19 hands and weighs 2,240 pounds.
Another true black, Gavin drives swing, yet is versatile and cognizant of his MVP status. Gavin is the cool kid who’s a bit cocky. “He’s aware of his own awesomeness,” Shannon offers with a laugh. And he doesn’t think all that much about practicing. He’s 18.3 hands and weighs 2,000 pounds.