When Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, first came to what we call England, it was at the head of a conquering army. He was said to be impressed by the large horses found in the land, particularly those used in battle. These Great Horses may have been ancestors of today’s Shire Stallion and other large draft horses. Centuries later, as England battled its way through medieval times, various rulers emphasized the breeding of large war horses to carry knights and their heavy armor and weapons. King John imported 100 large stallions from Holland in the thirteenth century for the purpose of breeding more huge horses. Laws were even passed requiring breeders to use large horses, in hopes of propagating the Great Horses so vital to knights. Peace eventually came, and swords were beaten into plowshares, but the Shire Stallion did not lose its usefulness. Before rail and steam, they were vital for moving cargo at docks and in cities, and they proved their worth to countless farmers.