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Tallest Horse in the World: Guinness Record

How tall was the tallest horse that ever lived? Which is the tallest horse alive? We'll tell you!

In Germany, Hanoverians and Oldenburgs are among the particularly large horse breeds. They reach a height of 18 hands (1.85 meters). But draft horses such as Shire Horses and Clydesdale are much larger.

Shire Horse Shire Horse (not Sampson) - Photo: Zuzule/Shutterstock

The Tallest Horse in the World (Ever)

The tallest horse that ever lived was a Shire gelding named Sampson (later named Mammoth). He was 21 hands (or 7 feet and 2.5 inches or 219 cm) tall and weighed 3,359 lbs (1,524 kg). The title is a little longer ago: he got it in 1850.


The Tallest Horse in the World (Alive)

Currently, no horse holds the title. Guinness World Records welcomes applications.

The Tallest Horse Until 2021

The biggest living horse was Big Jake! Unfortunately he died on June 28, 2021 at the proud age of 20. The Belgian draft horse gelding measured 20 hands (or 6 feet and 10.75 inches or 210.19 cm) without horseshoes. In 2013, the 11 year old gelding weighed an impressive 2599 lb (1,179 kg). A little less than the previous record holder but almost as much as a small car!

Of course, a big horse has big needs. Big Jake needs an extra large stall and an extra large horsebox to get around. His owner Jerry Gilbert got Big Jake as a foal and lovingly raised him himself. The record is still unbroken today! Belgian draft horses originally come from Belgium and are cold blooded.

The Tallest Horse Until 2009

The 11 year old Remington measured 20 hands (or 6 feet and 8 inches or 203.2 cm) high and was officially the biggest horse in the world until 2009. Remington weighed in at 2,905 lb (1,318 kg). If he walked over the ground after rain, he would leave impressive craters. And when Remington walked through a barn, he had to lower his head. His owner Cheryl Davis and trainer Bunny Morrissey described Remington’s character as like a cheeky teenager and a big, playful dog.

Belgian Draft Horse Belgian Draft Horse (not Remington) - Photo: anakondasp/Shutterstock


About the Clydesdale Breed

Remington is a Clydesale. These horses have powerful bodies, an expressive head, strong neck and plenty of hair on their ankles. This coldblood originated in Scotland in the 18th century, near the River Clyde. Clydesdale horses are mostly used as draft horses and are known for their immense strength and will to work.

Strict Rules For the Record

With and without shoes! To make sure that Remington’s record counted, he had to be officially measured twice, once with shoes and once without. Of course, witnesses were also needed to confirm that everything was correct. A whole lot of work! There might be horses that are even bigger than Big Jake and Remington, but the paperwork needed to get into the Guinness Book of World Records may put some people off.

What’s a Hand?

Hands are a way of measuring an animal’s size from the uppermost part of the shoulder. This area is also called the withers. In four-legged animals, it forms the highest point of the body, linking the neck to the back. When an animal lowers its head, the withers is still the highest point of the body, so it’s used as a reference for body height.


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