The breed belongs to the cold-blooded horses with broad and strong bodies.

Breed Characteristics and Appearance

How do I recognize Ardennais?

It is a massive horse with a deep chest and long, sloping shoulders. Its neck is short but powerful and well-muscled. His legs are rather short and stocky. The smaller head is very expressive with alert eyes. It runs either in a straight line or with a rams nose.

What is special about an Ardennais?

The Ardennais is a resilient, easy-care horse with a good-natured, relaxed, and reliable character. It is ideal for beginners and also unsafe riders.

How big is an Ardennais?

With a size of up to 165 cm and a weight of up to a ton, this horse breed is one of the massive cold-blooded horses.

What is the life expectancy of an Ardennais?

Unfortunately, the life expectancy of large, heavy animals is not comparable to that of warm-blooded animals. They usually live to be between 16 and 18 years old. In individual cases, they can also live to be over 20 years old.

What coat colors are there in the Ardennais?

The horses come in different colors. Common are brown molds, foxes, red mold, and brown mold. Rappen are rather rare.

Traits of Temperament

Is Ardennais also suitable for beginners?

Ardennais is considered good and easy to train. Dealing with children is problem-free.

What are the characteristics of behavior and personality that characterize an Ardennais?

The Ardennais is a very robust horse with a calm, frugal disposition and strong nerves. However, he can just as easily show his agile and lively side. He has a high urge to move and is made for work because he shows not only joy but also enormous perseverance in his assignments.

Origin & History

Where does the Ardennais originally come from?

The history of the breed is very extensive. According to tradition, he is said to be descended from the Solutré horse. This breed of the horse comes from prehistoric times and lived in the time where France is today.

What were Ardennais bred for?

The breed was bred for a variety of purposes as its use has changed repeatedly throughout history. It was already used by the Romans as a riding and draft horse for heavy loads. Also in the following centuries, they served people as riding and drafting horses in battles. By crossing different horse breeds, the Ardennais should first become heavier and larger and later again lighter and, above all, more agile. It was not until much later that the horses were bred to be equally heavy horses by other heavy draft horses. They should now increasingly serve as workhorses in agriculture.

Care, Health, Diseases

What should you watch out for when caring for the Ardennais?

When caring for it, you should always keep a possible tendency to scum in the back of your mind. The curtain requires regular care and special attention from Mauke. Grooming is an important part of keeping horses in a species-appropriate manner.

Taking care of the health of this breed involves the same steps as any other horse. Regular routine examinations, as well as vaccinations and wormer cures, should be a matter of course. The examination of the teeth and regular visits to the farrier is also part of it. In some cold-blooded animals, the chestnuts grow particularly quickly. Either you are able to shorten these yourself using the appropriate pliers. Otherwise, ask your farrier to check the length regularly and trim it if necessary.

Are there diseases or hereditary diseases typical of the breed in the Ardennais?

The Ardennais is characterized by its robustness, which is why it is less susceptible to diseases. However, most of the horses of this breed are characterized by heavy fetlocks. As with other horse breeds with hangings, he also shows a tendency to muddy.

Interesting Facts about Nutrition

What should you watch out for in terms of feeding times and the amount of feed?

When feeding, the keeping of the cold blood must be observed in any case. If the Ardennaisare kept in the barn a lot and hardly worked, it is often enough to give them high-quality hay with any added minerals. If, on the other hand, he is kept very robust and spends most of the time on the pasture, hay and mineral feed are fed as a supplement.
If it is used in the forest or in agriculture, or if it regularly walks in front of the carriage, its energy requirements increase. He then needs a corresponding amount of concentrated feed. However, this should be done after a precise ration calculation. This ensures that it is adequately supplied, but that there is no oversupply.

How often should the Ardennais be fed?

Feeding should be spread over the day. It is important to consider the night’s rest. This includes the longest period when no feed is available. Therefore, enough hay should be fed in the evening. Of course, the summer months are excluded when the horses are out on the pasture 24 hours a day or when hay is permanently available in the open stable through hay racks.

Activities with the Ardennais

Which sports are suitable for the Ardennais?

The Ardennais is a real powerhouse. Therefore, this horse breed has also been used as a reliable riding and workhorse throughout its history. Especially in battles as a riding horse or in agriculture, it has taken on numerous tasks to make human work easier. However, along with technical developments, horsepower in agriculture has also declined. Nowadays you can still find them there. However, their strong pulling power is now increasingly used in forestry as a back horse or in front of the carriage. With their shackles, the horses are also beautiful to look at in front of the carriage. Usually the tensioning in front of the carriage can only be seen on leisure excursions and not in high-level driving. Light dressage tasks or jumping units are also possible with him. Lovers of this breed know about their character and appreciate the Ardennais as a riding and leisure horse, for children and young people as well as for adults. The Ardennais is also enthusiastic about groundwork.

How much exercise does an Ardennais need?

Due to his robustness and endurance, long rides with these gentle giants are not a problem. The Ardennais is very willing to work and has a high urge to move. You should be aware of this at the time of purchase so that you can use your urge to move not only on the meadow but also with joint activities.

Consideration before Purchasing

Where can you buy Ardennais?

If you want to buy a horse and are thinking of buying an Ardennais horse, you should look carefully for a breeder. Because Ardennais is not very widespread in Germany. Some of them can be acquired from private hands. However, they are mainly bred in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Sweden. So if you want to buy such a horse, pay attention to the papers, all the necessary vaccinations, and that the horse comes from good husbandry.

Where can you find riding participation for an Ardennais?

Due to their lovable and calm manner, the Ardennais is also ideal horses for horse riding. However, they should be cold-blooded. After all, these horses are of a very high weight class, which involves a certain potential for danger.

Upbringing and Attitude

Is an Ardennais right for me?

Even if the Ardennais is one of the robust and easy-care horse breeds, you will need enough space for this gentle giant. Such a cold-blooded animal needs a large box or shelter, wide areas for exercise, and of course appropriately adapted feed rations. He eats more hay or straw than a pony. Manure disposal also plays a role. A cold-blooded horse produces more horse manure than smaller horses or ponies. If you can meet these requirements, with Ardennais at your side you will have a good-natured, patient, and reliable partner. However, cold-blooded animals are not sleeping pills. They also want to be challenged and encouraged.

How do I keep an Ardennais?

Ardennais is very robust and frugal horses and can easily be kept in open stalls. All they need is a suitable shelter where they can take shelter as needed. The pastures should be very spacious so that the active Ardennais can also develop.
On the other hand, if you want to keep your Ardennais stable in the stable, it should be big enough and be able to carry the weight of this horse. Contact with conspecifics is important for any type of husbandry.

How much space does an Ardennais need?

The Ardennais is not too big, but a heavy horse. If he is kept in a box or a stable, this requires the observance of a few criteria. The stall height should be at least twice the height of the withers. Likewise, the strength of the stable walls and posts should be adapted to the weight of the cold blood. The stable floor must be stable and of course dry and non-slip.
The willows should be of the appropriate size so that the Ardennais can pursue their urge to move.

How do I transport an Ardennais?

You should think about the necessary transport of your Ardennais in good time. After all, such horses do not fit in every horse trailer. You need an extra large and stable trailer with a suitable towing vehicle. Because not only your horse brings weight. A large, stable horse trailer also has a certain weight. Together, they quickly add up to a few kilos.

Interesting, Worth Knowing and Extras

Ardennais in film and television

Did you know that an Ardennais can be seen in the film adaptation of the Medicus? The bestseller “The Medicus” by Noah Gordon was made into a film in 2013 and was released in German cinemas. There, an Ardennais man pulls the medieval carriage of the traveling barber.

Why are the Ardennais so popular?

Ardennais is frugal, robust, patient, and good-natured horses. You enjoy working and have tremendous stamina. Whether as a workhorse in the forest or in front of the carriage or rather as a riding horse – the Ardennais makes it easy for everyone to like him. Children, adolescents, beginners, or fearful riders can also handle these gentle horses.

Ziemer-Falke is a certified dog trainer and behavioral advisor by the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Veterinarians and the Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. In addition, she has a lot of additional training and focuses and is on the examination board of the Lower Saxony Veterinary Chamber for dog trainer certifications.
With her husband Jörg Ziemer, she founded the training center Ziemer & Falke, in which they have been training dog trainers all over Germany with a lot of passion, passion, and competence for many years and offering many further training offers. Many also know Kristina as a successful author of specialist books for dog trainers and dog owners as well as from articles in popular dog magazines.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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