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Draft Horse

Draft Horse


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Breed Description
The Draft breeds popular in America are commonly listed as: Clydesdale, Belgian or Belgian Draft, Percheron, Suffolk or Suffolk Punch, and the great Shire.

Probably the most recognized by non-draft folks is the Clydesdale -- from the publicity the famous Annheiser-Busch teams generate. Belgians are probably the most numerous in the United States, at work in the field, in Draft shows and in pulling contests. Percherons show up wherever workhorses do -- they pull, show, work, and jump! I have seen the Shire in show and ridden dressage. Less numerous in the United States are the Suffolk and American Cream Draft. The French Mulassier is one of too many endangered domestic species.

From before the 1970's probably the most important contributions purebred draft breeders made to the horse community, was in maintaining pure lines for cross breeding purposes. The hearty 'chunk' or draft cross as they are known today can be registered in the Draft Cross Registry.


History
Great horses" of the draft type emerged in Europe during the Ice Age, and were known to exist at the time of Caesar. By the early medieval period (500-1000 A.D.), the father of modern drafts - the so-called "Black Horse of Flanders" - was cultivated for his strength and endurance, qualities necessary for toting armor-clad knights into battle.

During times of peace, those same traits rendered drafts indispensable in both town and country - whether pulling a plow, a wagon, a carriage, or heavy logs in the forest.

Indeed, they helped settle the New World, hauling families across the frontier, tilling their land, clearing forests, and carting ore from mines. They proved useful in the cities, as well, and by the late 19th century, were towing everything from coaches and fire trucks to circus wagons and canal boats.


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