What is a draft horse?
Consisted of many breeds, the draft horse is a big one, that has been bred to perform mostly farm tasks, like for example plowing and heavy loads hauling.
These breeds have all their own characteristics, but also have in common that are heavy weighed, very strong, soft nature and very tolerant, features that are crucial for the labors that are required to develop in the country and for the horse to have a longer live.
Because of its portentous appealing draft horses are often shown in exhibitions and recreation festivals.Also the draft horse is a type of horse that is preferred for crossbreeding, doing it especially with less powerful horses, in order to get individuals that are able to perform in sports activities.
How tall is a draft horse?
Draft breeds range from approximately from 1,400 to 2,000 lb (640 to 910 kg) and 15 to 19 hands (64 150 to 192 cm) high.
Draft Horse History
Even though some modern heavy horses bloodlines could have some influence from the medieval Destrier, contemporary Draft Horses are visibly bigger than the horse that the knights used to ride, and even bigger that the ancient Draft Horses. Back in the day stronger ordinary farm working horses were destined to do the hardest work and over time the crossing of these individual give origin to the modern Draft Horse breeds.
In the 1900s the demand for powerful horses increased significantly, and with the arriving of the railway, were still more needed. People started to ask for muscular, larger and developed hindquarters horses that would be used to move passenger carts, managing cargo and pulling logs.
Later in the 20th century before that engine vehicles were available and trustworthy, these great specimens participated even in the First World War, and also were used for a variety of everyday jobs, resulting in the importation of a huge amount of draft horses from Europe to the USA.Belgians, Percherons, Clydesdales and Shires arrived to the country causing the appearance of many American Draft horse registries, becoming the Percheron the most popular breed of these kinds of horses.The most notorious Draft Horse breed developed in the USA was the American Cream and his stud book was founded around 1930.
The increasing mechanization that characterized the initial decades of the 20 century contributed dramatically to the decline in popularity of the draft horses breeds and in present days these types of horses are seen mostly in exhibitions, contests, and shows.
How much can a draft horse pull?
A single draft horse can pull a load up to around 9,500 pounds. In 1924 a pair of Shire draft horses pulled 45 tons
Breed a Draft Horse is not cheap
Most draft horses not necessarily have to use shoes but the owner of one that does it, has to spend much than the owner of a smaller horse, because they required special equipment, and the bigger effort that the farrier has to release to finish the labor.
It is also not difficult to understand that feed a ton horse will be quite onerous, no matter that these horses have a slower metabolism than other horses.
Draft Horse Today
Thanks to the rebirth in popularity that the breeding of this horses have presented, the care of them also has evolved significantly,being now the feeding and diagnosis of their individual characteristics the focus of the activity.Nowadays the draft horses are divided in 3 types Hitch, Farm and Pulling.
The Hitch horses are draft horses that are destined to perform in shows pulling carts individually or in groups. The average height of them is approx. 17 hands and their weigh about 1800 lbs.
A multipurpose horse, the farm Horse is used normally for tasks related to agriculture, nevertheless the can also be ridden and utilized to pull carts.They stand at less of 16 hands and weigh nearly 1500 lbs.
Seen usually in weigh pulling competitions, the pulling draft horses are also utilized in logging operations that are difficult for machines to be used. Their weight is normally around 1700 lbs.
The Care – Feeding
A Draft Horse must be fed properly, and to achieve this goal is important to understand the factors that are influential in the development of a healthy and strong Heavy Horse. The most important issues to take in consideration are: Size, the work that the horse is intended to do and age.
Other aspect that modern breeders consider when planing their feeding is also the climate and environment in which the Draft Horse live.Warmer and cooler weathers will require different kinds of nurturing.Working horses normally are fed early in the day and then after the working day has finished.
Never mind they are light horses or heavy horse ,always they are fed with a mix of grain, hey, grass , vitamins and nutrient supplements that have to designed according to the aforementioned factors. If the Draft horse is desired to do his job and a greater speed, his energy consumption will be absolutely different that the one that works at a less demanding rhythm, and of course he will need a bigger intake of energy.
The best way to asses if a horse is fed adequately is to visually observe his condition and act in a way that the possible harm can be prevented.
Can draft horses be ridden?
While most draft horses are used for driving, they can be ridden and some of the lighter draft breeds are capable performers under saddle.
The Draft Horse was in the past crucial for the development of many activities and his powerful and courageous appearance impressed not only the horse’s lovers,but everybody that have the opportunity to watch them.
Nowadays even though they are nos so utilized in practical labors they contribute to a series of entertainment activities ,and they are still very admired for plenty of persons.For the fans of this awesome kind of horse they will be always present in their minds and in their hearts.