A malnourished foal which almost died after being neglected has battled back to health and is now standing proud – as Britain’s tallest HORSE.
Four-year-old Sovereign currently measures 20.6 hands (6ft 10ins) from his hoof to his withers at the bottom of his neck – and he is still GROWING.
He has overtaken Britain’s previously tallest horse, a Clydesdale called Digger, who stood at 19.3 hands high (6ft 6ins).
Incredibly, Sovereign – who weighs over one TONNE – almost died two years ago of neglect before Paul Evans rescued him from a cow shed.
The horse, who stands over 9ft tall in height, is now tipped to overtake the current world record holding horse who is an astonishing 21 hands (7ft) tall.
Dad-of-two Paul, is waiting for confirmation from the Guinness Book of World Records to confirm the gelding is the largest in the UK.
Paul, who runs Shire Horse Carriages in Werrington, Staffs., said: “I have always loved shire horses so when I heard one was up for sale because his owners couldn’t cope, I went down to see him.
“Sovereign was in quite a bad way, he was actually underweight and very dirty. I could have probably pushed him over with my hand.
“He was kept in an old cow shed which was too small.
“I paid the owners #200. He was very nervous at first. It took a year before he fully trusted me.
“I never believed he would grow into such a monster – and he’s still growing.
“He weighs over a tonne and from hoof to his ears he is well over 9ft.
“He’s wonderful and I’m delighted I bought him.
“Because he’s still young he’s still got years of growth in front of him.
“He could well top 22 or maybe in more hands which will make him a world record breaker.”
Sovereign is now kept at Green Farm, Caverswall, Staffs., along with Paul’s two other shire horses Poppy and Sovereign’s half-sister Ruby.
He munches his way through an astonishing eight kilos of hay and corn every day and goes on a five-mile trots three times a week to keep in shape.
Paul added: “I bought Ruby last year. She is only a year old but she’s already about 64 inches so it looks like she’s going to take after her brother.
“The thing is, he still has a couple of years to grow so there’s no knowing how big he will be.
“Shire horses require a lot of work and he costs an awful lot of money to feed him.
“He went to his first wedding last April and I am going to take him to Leek Show later this month.
“He has a great temperament so I think he will do well.”
Breeder Mick Hanson, 52, chairman of the Staffordshire Shire Horse Society, said Sovereign came from a fine line of shire horses.
He said: “Sovereign was a big foal so I am not surprised if he’s one of the biggest of his breed in the country.
“His mum Ramsor Queen of Hearts is 72 inches and his dad was about the same, which is above average.
“His mum actually won prizes at two horse shows last weekend and his dad was a national champion four times.
“His sister was bought by Manchester City’s owner so he comes from quite a famous family. Paul has done a great job to restore him to full health.”