Big Jake the Belgian Gelding horse has earned worldwide fame for his extraordinary height.

Standing (without shoes) at a majestic 20 hands 2.75 in (210.19 cm, 82.75 in), he officially became the Tallest horse living when measured on 19 January 2010.

Since achieving the Guinness World Records title eight years ago, hundreds of visitors have flocked to Smokey Hollow Farm in Poynette, Wisconsin, USA to see the magnificent steed with their own eyes.

"People are shocked when they see him in person!" said his loving owner and farm manager, Jerry Gilbert. "Life has been a bit busier since Jake has held the record due to so many people wanting to see him."

Testament to Big Jake’s enduring popularity, this video that was published on the Guinness World Records YouTube channel in 2012 has racked up over 3.5 million views.

The offspring of two averaged-sized horses, Big Jake weighed 240 lbs when he was born; he was tall for a foal, but not exceptional. 

"We purchased him as a three-year-old and he kept growing!" explained Jerry.

2011: Guinness World Records visited Smokey Hollow Farm to take photos of Big Jake for the book

"He eats a tad bit more than our average size draft horses. Usually a full bucket of grain twice per day. He also eats about a bale of hay per day."

As well as the extra food, there's a lot of accommodation to be made for the largest horse in the world, too. 

"Everything has to be big! His stall is 20x20 ft when an average stall is about 12x12 ft… when we transport him we have to use a semi-trailer."

Big Jake used to take part in draft horse showing competitions but he has since retired – now aged 17 – spending his time greeting fans at events or relaxing at the farm with other horses.

2017: Big Jake with a miniature horse named Bear at Jefferson County fair in Wisconsin

Jerry says that the mighty animal loves being the centre of attention – getting belly rubs and his neck scratched is his favourite thing. Despite his huge stature, Jake is "pretty easy going."

Jerry has been a Guinness World Records fan since he was a kid: "In the 70s, I would always look up the tallest horse and the fastest horse. It was very exciting to me."

Holding the official record is "awesome," he added.

Before Big Jake was measured, the tallest living horse was Remington, a Clydesdale horse who measured 20 hands (203.2 cm, 80 in) on 6 June 2009 at Lake Country Animal Hospital in Frisco, Texas, USA.

Jake at home on the farm

Jake’s record has stood for eight years but only time will tell whether this iconic title will ever be beaten. Such lofty horses do not appear often.

The only verified instance of a taller horse was a shire gelding named Sampson (later renamed Mammoth) who measured 21 hands 2.5 in (2.19 m; 7 ft 2.2 in) in 1850. He had held on to the Tallest horse ever title for 168 years.

In comparison, the Smallest living horse - female is Thumbelina, a miniature sorrel brown mare who measures 44.5 cm (17.5 in) to the withers. Foaled on 1 March 2002, she is owned by Kay and Paul Goessling who live on the Goose Creek Farm Inc, St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Thumbelina (right) with an average-sized horse

Other horse-related records documented by Guinness World Records include Longest tail on a horse, Largest horse parade, Highest jump by a horse and Fastest speed for a race horse.