Monday Minstrel: What does Horse Power mean?

 

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Percheron horses

Historically draught horses  were the workers. Do you know where the term ‘horse power’ comes from? Here is a very good description from  Kathleen Walker-Meikle’s book “The Horse Book”.

 

Draught horses are usually horses that were bred for work such as the heavy farm tasks or hauling freight. Their use has greatly declined since the invention of the internal combustion engine ( particularly cars and tractors). The unit of measurement ‘horse power’ was invented in the late eighteenth century to compare the output of steam engines with draught horses. Mechanical horsepower, also known as imperial horsepower, was originally defined as a measure of power equal to 550 foot-pounds per second. Early trains invented in an age dominated by the horse in all aspects of life, were often termed ‘iron horses’. 

Draught horse breeds include the Shire, Clydesdale and Percheron. The largest horse on record was a Shire called Sampson, foaled in1846, who stood at 21.2 hands high ( 219 cm at his withers) and weighed 1,502 kg. ( That is 3,311 pounds) He was renamed Mammoth at the age of four.”

Today there are farms that use horse power and there is a movement in the USA to reintroduce horses for work on farms. They may never come back to the numbers of working horses on farms that there were in the days  of old but the fact that they are still working at all is wonderful.

The photos I have of the draught horses are all taken in competitions at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. They may be polished and prepared for the show ring but I am certain that all of them could also pull their weight out in a farmers field! Take a look at the video from Rural Heritage Magazine at the bottom of this  post!

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Clydesdale horses

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. AmberSnaps87 says:

    I love them ridden one before bareback so smoothe love the gaited horses

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That must have been a wonderful experience! Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  2. I always think the horses wear white booties! That must have been an interesting show to watch. I absolutely adore the bows in the mane, must take quite a while to get them groomed to perfection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It does.they braid in ribbons and then stick the decorations into the braid. The white “feathers” have to be washed, dried, sprayed and then wrapped until the last minute when they go into the arena! But it looks good!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Miss A says:

    Holy…. Mr Sampson was heavier than my (big) car! I bet he was a gentle giant. They are usually such nice creatures the big ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Indeed they are. Thanks for the comparison to your car that brings his size and weight into clarity!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. (HorseLover4Ever) Elizabeth says:

    The first and second picture–all the pictures= beautiful!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos. They are wonderful subjects to photograph.

      Like

  5. iScriblr says:

    Interesting! Beautiful horses! 🏇

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you like them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeff Rab says:

    Interesting article! Beautiful horses!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Jeff. They are pretty impressive.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I never heard of the shire horse. That is one big horse!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes he was huge! They are pretty big horses but that one was exceptional.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s great to hear that they are making somewhat of a comeback at certain farms. I bet they have many advantages

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Agreed. One of the things that is an advantage is that they are self sustaining. They provide fertilizer for the crops that can be harvested to provide their food and they don’t require a carbon based fuel to work.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice description of horse power. The Horses are beautifully dressed up.
    Shiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Shiva. The grooms people take hours to shine them up, braid them and polish all the harness. The result is beautiful.

      Liked by 2 people

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