Horse Species – main information

Black Forest Chestnut

Black Forest Chestnut

Conformation elegant head, muscular but refined neck,
good shoulders, strong body, hard feet
Colour sorrel to dark chestnut with blond/flaxen mane
and tail
height 14.3-15.2 hands
uses agriculture, forestry, harness, riding, showing

In his German homeland, this horse is known as the Schwarzwalder Fuchs the Black Forest Chestnut, pearl of the Black Forest. He is an active, lively little horse, descended from the original coldblooded equines of the region, and the breed dates back some GOO years. The breed has been influenced by Noriker and Haflinger, whose colouring he has inherited, and made an excellent light draught horse to work the hilly region ofthe Black Forest in Baden Wurttemberg, southwest Germany. This horse is nimble and strong but has a gentle nature, and is versatile and willing.

His colouring varies from sorrel through all shades of chestnut including a striking dark hue, spectacularly set off by a blond mane and tail. His good looks and happy disposition made him popular as an all round family mount, as well as a farm horse. The studbook was established by the end of the 19th century but efforts to encourage breeders to use Belgian Heavy Draughts to add height failed. Today there are about 46 state approved stallions and approximately 700 registered mares in Germany. These numbers continue to grow as the popularity of the breed is once again on the rise.

Boulonnais

Boulonnais

conformation fine head, arched neck, compact body,
strong legs, light feather (leg hair), bushy mane
colour predominantly grey, sometimes black,
occasionally chestnut
height 15-15.3 hands
uses draught

This breed’s ancestors were the Numidian horses of war,brought by Julius Caesar’s legions to the French coasts of Pas-de-Calais en route to invading Britain. The Boulonnais is the Thoroughbred of all the heavy draught breeds, his beauty thought to be inherited from oriental and Andalucian blood brought into Belgium during the Crusades and Spanish occupation. It is these influences that set him apart from other draught horses. His speed, elegant build, rehned head, silky coat and luxuriant mane can all be attributed to these hotblooded ancestors.

Energetic and lively Boulonnais horses were as much in demand for riding as for pulling carriages and working the fields. ln the 17th century they were famed for pulling the fish carts to transport the fresh catch from the coast to Paris — this is now commemorated every other year in a traditional harness team race, ’la Route du Poisson Modern Boulonnais Draughts are mostly grey of varying shades, although chestnut, dark bay and black have occurred. An attempt is being made to reintroduce the black colour, using a black stallion called Esope, and the modern breeding programme is government funded to save this superb draught breed from extinction.

Auxois

Auxois

conformation short head, muscular neck, prominent
withers, wide, short back, hardy limbs
colour bay, roan, chestnut
height 16.3 hands and over
uses agriculture, forestry, light draught

Compact and powerful, the Auxois is closely related to the Ardennais, the result of crossings with local Burgundy mares and, later, with Boulonnais and Percheron, although since the early 20th century only Ardennais stallions have been used.strong and enduring equine, he is thought to have existed side by side with the Ardennais since the Middle Ages and therefore, like the latter, is probably a descendant of the ancient Solutré Horse.

This horse is named for the lush Auxois area, which includes the southwest of Cote d’Or, an undulating, fertile region with rich pastures. He was originally smaller than the Ardennais, but has since overtaken his cousin in size. He has a short head with wide forehead, small, alert ears and a muscular, short neck. His wide chest and massive body give him the power to plough and, despite his bulk, he is supple and free-moving.

The Auxois is a quiet, good-natured and willing worker and this, coupled with his strength, makes him an excellent draught horse, suitable for farm work and forestry. But he has also found favour with the tourism industry, notably gypsy caravanning holidays in his beautiful homeland. The Auxois has never been bred in large numbers, but this versatile draught horse has an increasing following.

Belgian Heavy Draught (Brabant)

Belgian Heavy Draught (Brabant)

conformation small, square head, heavily muscled heck,
powerful shoulders, thick, compact body, short,
stong legs
colour predominantly roan,also,bay,chestnut,grey,dun
height 16.2-17 hands
uses heavy draught

A Goliath among heavy horses, the Belgian Heavy Draught owes his iron constitution and robust good health to the fertile land after which he is named. This lush little corner of I ig Europe was home to the ’great horses of war, the big black Flemish lines that were so revered by medieval warriorslmmensely strong and powerful, they could carry a knight full armour with ease, Known for some centuries as the Flanders horse, he is also called the Brabant, for the area where he was bred, or le Race de Trait Beige. The Belgian people were proud — and rightly so — of their draught breed and resisted the clamour for a lighter type of cavalry mount that was to follow, perpetuating the horse that so suited their country with its rich, heavy soil, as well as their climate, traditional skills and economic reliance on the land.

Their glorious, powerful and versatile draught breed made up some 90 per cent of the country’s equine population. wth what now seems like amazing foresight, the Belgians refused to dilute their heavy horse with outside blood, inbreeding selectively where necessary to develop further or preserve desired qualities, and adhering to strict breed guidelines.By the 1Qth century three distinct lines had been established, named for their founding sires. The Orange I line produced huge bay horses known as Gros de la Dendre, while the stallion Bayard established the Gris du Hainaut line of grey, dun or sorrel horses, with the occasional red roan,which reveals the breed’s ’primitive’ origins.

The final line was founded by the bay Jean I — rather fancifully called Colosses de la Mehaigue and was renowned for its strength and good, hard legs. The Belgian Heavy Draught was almost universally popular and was used to form other heavy breeds, including the Shire and the Clydesdale. His fortunes continued, with many being exported up until World War I, about 35,000 a year were sent to the United States, Canada and Russia, with America setting up her own breed association in 1887. But inevitably the spread of mechanization affected the breed: the demand for draught horses went into serious decline and there were, at one time, less than 200 registered. The well-known brewery Coors is credited with saving the Belgian Heavy Draught his traditional colour of glowing chestnut with white mane and tail is said to be reminiscent of a cold glass of beer with a head of foam.

American Cream Draught

American Cream Draught

conformation convex profile, short, thick neck, compact
body, short legs, some feather (leg hair)
colour medium cream, white mane and tail, pink skin and
amber eyes, white markings
height 16.2 hands

Americas only native draught horse breed is comparatively new, and its foundations lie with one mare, a light-coloured cream who passed her colour on to her progeny. Called Old A Granny, she was thought to have been foaled between 1900 and 1905, and nothing is known of her breeding except that she was of heavy draught type — about 98 per cent of registered American Creams can be traced back to her.
A veterinary surgeon called Eric Christian was very taken by her cream foals and suggested to her owners, the Nelson brothers of Jewell, iowa, that they keep a colt entire. The colt,Nelson’s Buck, was the American Creams foundation sire.Later, his great grandson Silver Lace would also have considerable influence on the breed, despite standing as a stallion for only seven seasons before dying mysteriously in 1939, after an offer of $1,000 for him was turned down.

He was bred to various draught stock, including Belgian,Percheron and Shire, and continued to throw cream—colourecl foals. ln 1944, an association was established to perpetuate,the breed and establish standards Interestingly, foals are born with almost white eyes, which
darken when they reach a year old.

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