Could Digger become the biggest horse in the UK?

  • Standing at more than 19hh a Clydesdale called Digger has been hailed as a contender for the biggest horse in the UK.

    The gentle giant is in the care of the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) at their centre Belwade Farm in Aberdeenshire.

    Centre manager Eileen Gillen said: “We can’t say exactly how big he is as we don’t have a measure long enough! He is well over 19hh, but he is still growing as he’s only four.”

    Currently Digger is weighing in at a hefty 900kg, but as he is still growing he may well weigh a tonne when he is fully mature. He eats 20-25kg a day of feed and his favourite treat is a chocolate muffin.

    “He is a typical teenage boy – always eating!” said Eileen. “He is very lanky, so while I can’t say whether he’ll grow taller, he will definitely bulk out and grow into himself.”

    Digger has not yet been ridden so spends most of his time out in the field enjoying his favourite pastime — eating.

    But Eileen has some fears for Digger: “Because he is so large we are suspicious that he could develop some joint problems so we will get him thoroughly checked out.”

    The ILPH were approached when Digger’s owner, who was becoming increasingly disabled, could no longer care for him. Despite attempts to rehome him, people were put off by his large stature and so the ILPH took him in.

    At the moment the ILPH is not yet looking to rehome the Clydesdale but are hoping they will find someone to care for him at some point.

    Eileen said: “We hope people are not put off by his size but they do need to understand that he is expensive to keep. We’ve definitely noticed a dent in our feed budget since he arrived!

    “We hope he will go on to do something useful – maybe working in forestry or farming.

    “He’s an absolute poppet – thank goodness! He has been hand reared as he sadly lost his mum when he was two weeks old but he still knows his place. He really is a gentle giant.”

    The biggest horse currently recorded in the UK is a 19.2hh Shire horse in Lincolnshire called Cracker. Meanwhile, a Shire from Tennessee in America called Tina holds the title of the biggest horse in the world — standing at a massive 20hh.

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