Helping is easy!

Just click the Donate button at the left and you will be on your way to helping preserve the Shire Horse!

The American Shire Horse Educational Foundation (ASHEF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to educating the public about the magnificent Shire Horse, helping to  preserve this rare breed, promoting humane education, and carrying on other activities associated with this purpose.

The Shire Horse is a rare breed, with only approximately 5,000 animals in the worldwide population. It is on the “critical” list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and is considered “at risk” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in Great Britain.

Shire Educational Video

Produced by ASHEF

(thank you Karla Stoner
for making this video a reality)

About the Shire Horse

The origins of the Shire Horse are shrouded in the mists of England, tracing its roots to large horses brought to England after the Norman Conquest. During the Middle Ages England was in need of strong horses to carry knights into battle. To gain an advantage over other armies, laws were passed forbidding the breeding of smaller horses and prohibiting the exportation of large horses outside the country. The English created a large horse that could carry the weight of a knight and armor while remaining calm in the face of combat. When lighter cavalry became the norm these giants continued to play valuable roles on the battlefield by moving the heavy war equipment and supplies needed by the armies.

The English recognized the value of such a strong, durable and calm steed. The horse then known as the “English Black” became invaluable to the economic development of England in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Great teams of these horses were the best mode of transportation in the country and moved products, people and equipment throughout England. Their size and strength made them invaluable work partners in one of the greatest civil engineering projects in history – the draining of the Fens – turning these marshlands into arable farmland to support England’s growing population.

These horses remained in the Fens. Sales of these horses became popular in Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire and so from the Shires of England developed the Shire Horse. Shire Horses continued to serve man through the agricultural era, working in fields, towns, on docks and quays, canal towpaths, and for the mills and railways. Exports to Scotland led to the development of the Clydesdale horse. They were imported to the United States and helped drive the development of this continent as well.

After the industrial revolution, the mechanization of agriculture and the development of the internal combustion engine, there was no longer a need for large work animals to drive the economy. The Shire Horse reached the point of extinction in the 1950’s and 60’s and it was only through the dedication of a few breeders that it was not lost forever.

How You Can Help




Helping is easy!

Just click the Donate button at the left and you will be on your way to helping preserve the Shire Horse!

The Shire Horse remains in danger of extinction without ongoing efforts to educate the public and promote this noble animal.  Your donations can help ASHEF continue to raise awareness and advocate for the Shire Horse.  Donations are tax deductible.

There are many ways you can help ASHEF meet its mission.
Cash Donations:  Just send a check to ASHEF and we can apply your gift immediately.  You will receive a full charitable deduction for the current tax year.

Will or Living Trust:  You can provide now for a future gift to ASHEF by including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust.  Please see your estate planner to include ASHEF in your estate plans.

Retirement Plans:  You name ASHEF as the beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k) or other qualified plan.  After your lifetime, the residue of your plan passes to ASHEF tax-free.  You can avoid both income and estate tax levied on the residue left in your retirement account by leaving it to ASHEF.  By donating your retirement plan, you will give the most-taxed asset in your estate to ASHEF, and leave more favorably taxed property to your heirs.

Matching Gifts:  Many companies will double or even triple employee donations.  Ask your HR representative if your company has a matching gift program for charitable donations.

Gifts of Property:  Gifts of personal property such as land, buildings, equipment, art, etc. can be sold by ASHEF or held for sale at a later date.  You will immediately receive an income tax deduction for the appraised value of the donated item and no capital gains tax will be assessed.  This is the perfect way to make a charitable contribution to ASHEF without making a monetary transaction.  Please see your financial consultant to find out more about making this kind of donation.

Honorary Gift:  An honorary gift is a wonderful way to celebrate the special people, animals or events in your life while supporting the mission of ASHEF.  Birthdays, anniversaries, and special accomplishments are all ways to use an honorary gift for someone you know.

Memorial Gift: A memorial gift is a beautiful testimony to the life of a beloved person or animal who has passed on – and a gift for ensuring the future of the Shire Horse.  It can be just the right touch for expressing compassion for someone who has experienced a loss.