Horses have always been loved by people for a variety of reasons. Be it for work, such as pulling loads, or for riding, for sport, or as a family horse to love. The world of horses shows many different horse breeds, which have been divided into warm-blooded horses, cold-blooded horses, and ponies. This article is about draft horses, their characteristics and character traits as well as individual horse breeds that are presented in more detail.
Drafts – strong and robust
Horse breeds classified as draft horses are considered strong, muscular, and friendly. At that time, they were bred primarily as working animals, which had the task of supporting the owners at work. However, since these activities were increasingly taken over by machines, animal breeding also declined sharply, which means that some breeds are still threatened with extinction today.
The characteristics of draft horses
Of course, every breed of horse and every animal has its own character traits. However, it could also be observed that all horse breeds that are assigned to the draft horses are very friendly to people, conspecifics, and other animals. In addition, they learn quickly and are very patient, and have strong nerves. Due to their great strength and peaceful character, they are also often and affectionately referred to as “gentle giants”.
They are strong and work reliably. Drafts are also very persistent and always eager to work. No wonder, then, that they are still used today in agriculture and forestry work. In contrast to ponies, they have more strength and, compared to warm-blooded horses, they are very sure-footed even on rocky and uneven terrain.
Of course, draft horses are not only used as working animals. Due to their very friendly nature and reliability, they are also often kept as family pets and leisure horses. Some horse breeds are also often used as carriage horses for events and shows, at weddings, or for breweries. Because even in front of large crowds of spectators, very few cold-blooded horses have problems, but always take such situations calmly and calmly, but always attract everyone’s attention with their imposing appearance.
- impressive appearance;
- strong and muscular;
- strong nerves;
- often used as a workhorse in forestry and agriculture;
- ideal as a carriage horse for breweries, weddings, shows;
- like to work with people;
- also ideal as a leisure and family horse.
Draft breeds at a glance
There are several horse breeds that are assigned to draft horses. These stand for our very own characteristics and colors as well as requirements for us humans. In the following, we will show you what these look like in more detail.
Origin: Andalusia, Spain
Height: 155 – 162 cm
Weight: 390 – 490 kg
Character: peaceful, friendly, reliable, willing to work, elegant.
The Andalusian is one of the most popular and well-known draft horses. This is a Spanish breed of horse, which includes all Iberian horses that come from Spain and are not ponies. They are mainly found as white horses, but black horses and brown animals also occur from time to time. Fox-colored animals are very rare. The thick mane and the high neck make him unmistakable. The Andalusian is considered a peaceful animal and a compact horse that reliably supports its owner. In addition to the typical three gaits, many Andalusians also master the tölt.
Origin: Algeria and surroundings, Morocco, Tunisia
Height: 145 – 160 cm
Weight: 480 – 520 kg
Character: friendly, stubborn, spirited, persistent, strong.
The Berber horse breed originally comes from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia and is considered the oldest breed in the Mediterranean region. Today they can be found almost exclusively in Europe and North Africa and are considered to be very spirited horses, which are not suitable for beginners. All colors can occur in this cold-blooded animal, whereby most animals can be found as gray horses. They are sure-footed off-road, which also makes them interesting as mounts and, in addition to the normal gaits, occasionally master natural tölt as a fourth gear. Some animals are suitable as light carriage horses and other Berbers are often used in endurance riding in Western riding because of their beautiful movements. Despite their high temperament, they are considered friendly and trusting as well as reliable horses.
Height: 165 – 173 cm
Weight: 700 – 1200 kg
Character: good-natured, friendly, motivated, willing to learn, reliable, very courageous.
The Brabant is particularly notable for its muscular and well-trained physique. Bred primarily for work, it has a broad chest and particularly strong shoulders. In his native Belgium he has been used as a workhorse for hundreds of years and works reliably alongside his people. They most commonly appear as mold, but can be found in other colors as well. They are known to be very quiet fellows who are good-natured and friendly at the same time and show a high willingness to learn. They are alert, intelligent, and motivated. Since they are among the strongest horse breeds in the world, they enjoy great popularity worldwide and are also often used to pull carriages.
Height: 125 – 162 cm
Weight: 600 – 800 kg
Character: strong, persistent, friendly, reliable, willing to work, obedient.
The Jutlander comes from Denmark and is a powerfully built draft horse, which can easily be used to pull heavy loads. Although most Jutlanders are of the fox color, other colors are also represented. The Jutlander has strong, broad shoulders and stocky legs, so it is primarily used as a draft horse. In addition to his strength, he also has great endurance. He has a particularly gentle look, which comes close to his nature because this horse is considered to be very friendly, reliable, and obedient. He enjoys learning and working with people and is therefore always ready to give his best. No wonder, then, that he is also often kept as a family horse.
Origin: Germany and Austria
Height: 155 – 165 cm
Weight: 600 – 900 kg
Character: good-natured, friendly, persistent, strong.
The Noriker is one of the medium-heavy draft horses with a strong physique. He comes from the Austrian and Bavarian mountains and is therefore very sure-footed in this area. He has great stamina and was mainly used as a workhorse at the time, although nowadays he is mainly found as a leisure horse. This horse breed comes in all colors. They are considered noble, graceful, and very pleasant in dealing with humans. Her friendly nature and balance make this horse perfect for beginners and children. In addition, he is willing to learn, persistent, and enjoys having to work from time to time.
Rhenish-German draft horse
Height: 158 – 170 cm
Weight: 720 – 850 kg
Character: persistent, strong, friendly, good-natured, willing to work and learn, calm.
The Rhenish-German cold blood is strongly built and was primarily bred and used as a draft horse in West Germany. It has a strong body and is built so that even heavy loads do not pose any problems for the animals. Unfortunately, it is now threatened with extinction and can now be found on the Red List, which includes the domestic livestock breeds that are highly endangered in Germany. You can find them in all colors. The Rhenish-German Coldblood likes to work with people and has a very pleasant temperament as well as a friendly and good-natured character. It is also very willing to learn and persistent.
Stick size: 150 -180 cm
Weight: 880 – 920 kg
Character: calm, strong, loving, willing to learn, sensitive, spirited.
The Percheron is considered a strong cold-blooded horse with broad shoulders and has mainly been used in agriculture as a draft and working animal. But these horses also cut a fine figure as a carriage horses and as a riding horses. They mainly appear as white horses and are very friendly and good-natured toward people. They always radiate inner calm and are also very willing to learn. Due to the crossing with an Arab and Berber, however, the temperament should not be underestimated, so that the Percheron is not suitable for beginners. Furthermore, the Percheron is considered sensitive and should therefore always be treated lovingly and brought up with a certain amount of consistency.
Origin: Great Britain
Height: 170 – 195 cm
Weight: 700 – 1000 kg
Character: loving, good-natured, willing to learn, strong, persistent, reliable.
The Shire Horse is one of the largest and heaviest horse breeds in the world and was originally bred as a battle horse. Today, this draft horse is mainly used as a carriage horse and has an impressive appearance. It is built wide and impresses with its powerful appearance. These horses are available as chestnuts, greys, bays, or black horses and have fine sabino markings. It is often referred to as the “gentle giant” because the Shire Horse is always sweet and friendly towards people. It is willing to learn and intelligent, works happily and reliably at the same time, and has strong nerves.
The draft horses are usually very gentle, loving, and often unaware of their strength. They are also easier to keep than warmbloods and usually feel very comfortable on pasture with an open stall. Due to their friendly nature, draft horses are very popular and, unlike in the past, are no longer used as working animals, but also as leisure horses to go on rides together.
However, it is also important for cold-blooded horses to always take into account the individual requirements of the horses so that they can be implemented when keeping horses. This not only refers to posture but also to handling and nutrition. If the horse feels good, nothing stands in the way of many great years together.