There are horses, and then there are Clydesdales.
The majestic beasts, some weighing more than a tonne, have taken over the Western Fair Agriplex this week.
Benjamin Arnold still remembers his boyhood days in rural Germany, flipping through a book on horse breeds on the family farm.
The page about Clydesdales was worn-through because he looked at it so much. Today, Arnold is a 37-year-old veterinarian who has brought his one-year-old horse Isabelle to London for the 2015 World Clydesdale Show.
It’s a dream come true.
The event, which has brought about 550 horses to the Agriplex, is the “Olympics of the Clydesdale world,” said Steve Gregg, co-chair of the event.
He’s a third-generation breeder, with a farm near Cargill in Bruce County.
“It’s almost like an addiction. The Clydesdale is a unique breed,” said Gregg. “They’re very good-natured, they’re easy to get along with. They’re ideal.”
Clydesdales originated in Scotland as draft horses. These days the breed is mainly used for show, with characteristic white hair and feather on their legs.
They can be up to 1.83-metres tall and weigh more than a tonne. “They’re big but they’re good-natured,” Gregg said.
The World Clydesdale Show happens every four years, usually in the United States.
Most horses come from around North America and compete in various events.
“I always loved horses just because of how bright they are and how nice they look and how gentle they are,” Arnold said. “It calms you down and relaxes you to be around them.”
Isabelle is a yearling, born last April.
The Clydesdale show includes more than 86 show classes over five days. It continues until Saturday.