Big Duke: The shire that keeps getting higher

Posted on 3:17 PM by Sameer Shah

He tends to thunder or rumble past rather than canter or trot.

But then, nothing Duke the shire horse does is subtle. He stands at just over 6ft 7in high at the withers, or shoulders - a world record - and weighs more than a ton.

Astonishingly, the five-year-old will continue to grow over the next couple of years, so he could yet put on another inch or two.

Duke - who in equestrian terms is a little over 19.3 hands - was rescued in 2006 when his former owner died suddenly.

He has since become a star attraction at The Horse Refuge in Tenterden, Kent, where his new owners have had to build a special large stable for him. He also needs custom-made rugs and collars.
Carer Sara Ross said: 'Visitors can't believe it when they see him. Some joke that he must be crossed with an elephant.

'He towers over me. I go underneath him rather than around him when I'm with him to save time. When I'm grooming him I have to stand on something.'

Duke eats more than £110 of food each week, receiving two large feeds and a bale-and-a-half of hay in a winter week - more than four times as much as a normal horse.

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