The Shales horse is one of the rarest breeds in the world. In fact, so little is known about it that its actual definition as a breed is questionable. According to sources, the Shales Horse as a breed is a direct descendent or modern version of the Norfolk Trotter or Roadster, which some people claim to be extinct. To make matters even more confusing is the fact that the original Sire is thought to be the original bloodline for an entirely different breed.


The father of this breed was Original Shales. Coincidentally, it was this horse that was also very influential in the founding of the Hackney in the Warmblood lines as well as some heavy horse bloodiness. Original Shales resulted from the need for a fast ground-covering traveler. This horse was able to get farmers and noblemen to their destinations quickly and with ease.

They were originally bred as riding horses and did not come into use as carriage horses until later in 19th century. By then roads had been built and were better maintained. Carriage travel became more practical.

The history of the Shales is thought to include the efforts of the Colquhoun family of England. In 1922, this family took over the breeding of the Shales horse. Elizabeth Colquhoun bought a two year old colt who was the son of Findon Gray Shales. The colt’s name was Royal Shales and he produced several versatile horses. One of his offspring was a well known polo pony.


Breed standards are not well defined. It is commonly said they should have good conformation and stand about 15 and a half hands, on average. This horse should be of good temperament. Common colors include gray and chestnut.

 The Other Shales Horse

Original Shales, the influential sire of many breeds, was also called “The Shales Horse.” He was foaled in 1755 in East Angelina from a Hackney mare (riding horse) and by the stallion Blaze. Blaze was the son of Flying Childers, the first famous racehorse of the day. Blaze was also the grandson of the Darby Arabian. Original Shales fathered two stallions: Scot Shales and Driver. These horses would be known today as a “Shales” horse. Both also had great influence on the Norfolk Trotters as well.

They are currently not being bred in Australia, and there are no known Shale Horses in the country