January 22, 2009 | | Comments 0

Draft Horses

Draft Horse Breeds

All draft horse breeds carry traits that are desirable to most people. These traits include perseverance, power and a mild disposition, all of which have made them very important to farmers since the pre-industrial age. Draft horse breeds these days are being employed for a wide variety of reasons such as farming, show and other competitions.

Draft Horse

Draft Horse

Draft horse breeds are renowned for their very muscular structure and lofty height. Normally, they have a more vertical shoulder, encouraging more upright motion and conformation that is most appropriate for pulling. They typically have short backs with extremely strong hindquarters, again most fitting for the task of pulling. Moreover, the draft horse breeds often have weighty bone, and a considerable amount of feathering on their lower legs. Several have a straight or curved (Roman nose) profile. Draft horse breeds vary from about 16 hands tall to 19hh and from 1,400 to 2,000 lbs.

Draft horses crossbred on light riding horses enhances the height and weight to the resulting offspring, and may enhance the strength and range of motion of the horse. Several horse breeds are utilized as draft horses, with recognition of a particular breed usually closely associated with the geographic location. Some known draft horse breeds are the American Cream, Ardennes, Avelignese, Australian Draught Horse, Auxois, Cludesdal, Belgian, Dutch Draught, Boulonnais, Dole Gudbrandsdal, Shire, Pinzgauer Noriker, Trait Du Nord, Percheron and Suffolk Punch.

Top Draft Horse Breeds

There are just a few draft horse breeds that have become extremely popular over the decades. These include the Shire Horse, Clydesdale, Belgian and Percheron. These horses have been utilized for pulling cargos and other vehicles in previous times and in fact are still being utilized for the same purposes.

The Belgian derived from the small country of Belgium. The lowlands by the sea required a larger horse for tasks that had to be done around their weightier soils. But there were also lighter tasks that had to be done in the wooded uplands of Ardennes. These varied requirements motivated the government to promote the endeavors of large and small breeders to develop certain types of breed. Belgians make exceptional wagon and doughty work horses as well as for horses in pulling and hitch competitions. The Clydesdale derived from Scotland and was bred not only for the farms but also for the coalfields and hefty haulage on the streets. This is an energetic horse. The Shire is well known as the largest horse breed in the world. They are renowned for their muscular strength as well as gentle temperament. Finally, the Percheron is said to have a mix of Arab blood left behind by the fall of the Moors caused by the French at Tours. This probably describes the mixed style and essence of the gray and white chargers so abundant in the middle ages.

Feeding, shoeing and caring for a heavy purebred horse draft breeds is expensive. The draft horse’s metabolism is usually like that of ponies wherein draft horses have reduced requirements per bodyweight compared to light horse breeds.  As a result of their size however, they are generally fed a large amount of feed and hay each day.

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