Beautiful and Powerful Draft Horse Breeds
Draft Horses have been working with humans for centuries and many are still working all over the World from pulling vehicles to guiding machinery involved in ploughing, sowing and haymaking.
The Belgian Draft Horse
The Belgian Draft Horse is a huge horse with strong but short legs, It stands between 16 and 18 hands and can weigh up to 2300 pounds.
They were originally bred to work the land back in medieval times and are believed to be the oldest of draft horses and the genetic foundation of most modern working horse breeds.
In modern times they are still used to work the land in many areas as well as trail riding horses and show horses - Revered both in Belgium and all over the World The Belgian draft is here to stay.
The Shire Horse is a breed of Draught horse from the UK and is usually black, grey or bay, perhaps the largest of the working Shires are taller than their Belgian cousin and have at various times held both tallest and largest horse World records.
A real hauling powerhouse, perhaps no other horse can equal the Shire`s ability to pull given it`s origins pulling tow barges down the Uk`s ancient canal systems, brewers drays for beer deliveries and as a cart horse for road transport.
In modern times shires are often used for forest clearance, traditional shows, pleasure riding as well as promotional work as well as many still being used in farming using traditional methods. Although the Shire never really took off in the USA they are still popular in the UK and are very fondly associated with British Traditions.
Is there are more iconic breed of heavy horse than the Clydesdale? Made famous by their long association with the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company, the brewery who make Budweiser. The Budweiser Clydesdales were first introduced to the public on April 7, 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition but didn`t appear in their first Super bowl commercial until 1986.
The name Clydesdale comes from a county in Scotland where local mares were bred with imported Flemish stallions. Although now generally a tall breed it was originally one of the smaller breeds or working horse where it was used as a farm animal.
Apart from the Budweiser Clydesdales, The Clydesdale Breed are still used by the British Household Cavalry as Drum Horses and you may find some still in use a draught horses although the breed in considered vulnerable in terms of numbers across the globe.
This Friesian originates from the Friesland region of the Netherlands, instantly recognisable by their elegant black coat, powerful muscle structure, thick mane and tail and lower leg feathers.
At between 15 and 17 hands tall the Friesian is not the biggest of draft horses compared to their huge cousins but their proportionate strength and agility for that of a big horse made them prized war horses for European warlords as far back as the 4th century due to their ability to carry a knight and armour at high speed.
As the use of armour in battle diminished the Friesian horse suffered a similar decline and indeed nearly became extinct, a modern resurgence of the breed has seen their use increase in both in harness and under saddle and more recently dressage competitions.
The Percheron draft horse originates from the Perche in Western France from where it takes it`s name, but they are now one of the most popular draft horses in the USA, they are very muscly and known for their steady temprement and willingness to work and pull.
The Percheron ranges in height from 15-19 hands and weigh up to 2600 pounds which made them an intimidating war horse as was their original purpose though over time they began to pull carts, work farms and various other tasks. Nowadays as well as being widely used as parade animals Percherons are used for forestry work and pulling carriages competition in English riding disciplines such as show jumping.
Still underwhelmed by the power of these amazing horses? Watch the video below to understand the true meaning of horsepower.