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August 23, 2008 | | Comments 0

Suffolk Punch Horse

Suffolk Punch Horse

Suffolk Punch Horse

Getting Compact Power from the Suffolk Punch

The Suffolk Punch used to be a little known draft horse breed. Today, it is a well known one. Like other draft breeds though, this one needs some saving. It is only through the efforts of loyal breeders that this breed continues to thrive despite decreased demand for it. Even so, it is still in danger of going extinct.

Breed History

The breed got its name from its place of origin. Its second name is a tribute to its powerful and dense appearance. Like many draft horses, it is quite possible that this breed originated from the Great Horse of Britain. In other words, its ancestors may have been heavy war horses. There is also some evidence that the Suffolk Punch received some influence from Norfolk breeds which is why the county of Norfolk is credited together with Suffolk for the breed’s development.

It is possible that the first horses that closely fit the conformation of present day Suffolk horses may have already been around in the 16th century. It was however, only in 1768 that the foundation sire for the breed was identified and recognized. Since 1768, the breeding standard for the Suffolk Punch proceeded smoothly. At first, the Suffolk Punch was intended mainly for farm work. They were specifically bred to be strong, enduring, hardy and long lived. Although the first breeders were definitely skilled, the breeding environment also ensured the trait purity of the breed. Suffolk was not easily accessible in the 18th and 19th centuries so there was little influence from other breeds.

Later on however, the breed did make it out of Suffolk. It was finally introduced to neighboring regions and the rest of the world in the 1900s. Although it became a popular work horse breed, it did not escape the fate of other draft breed horses. The Second World War, increasing industrialization and the introduction of mechanized farming changed the way draft horses were viewed. In the past they were indispensable farm assets that farmers could not part with but in the 1900s they became burdens that cost much to maintain. Many Suffolk Punch horses were discarded in favor of farming machines.

Fortunately, breeders were able to reorganize themselves in the 1960s. They were just in time to save this beautiful draft horse breed from disappearing completely. Today, efforts continue to preserve the breed.

Breed Traits

The Suffolk stands at a maximum of 16.1 hands although some may go a little over this figure. Their bodies appear a bit round in general but are muscular and compact. They have arched necks, short backs, and short legs. Although their legs make them appear a bit small, they are impressive in actual appearance. There are no color variations in the Suffolk Punch breed. All horses of this breed are chestnut in color.

Suffolk Punch horses have the typical temperament of a true draft horse. They are generally mild mannered and easy to manage. These are very desirable traits in draft horses that need to be controlled by farmers for farm work.

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