The draft horse breeds are not ones found in horse racing. Still, fans of horse racing might want to learn more about these amazing horses. From the noble and gentle Friesian to the majestic Clydesdale and Brabant, draft horses are a specimen to behold. Here is some information on these breeds.
The Clydesdale Horse
The beautiful Clydesdale is believed to have originated in Scotland. Those its origins are celebrated by the Scottish people, this breed is now more known for its role as a brand ambassador for Anheuser-Busch. The famous Budweiser Clydesdales make hundreds of appearance each year. They are even the subject of a yearly Super Bowl commercial.
Clydesdales are known for their large size. They are also, like most draft breeds, used for pulling. A team of 8 horses are used to pull the Budweiser wagon. In their history the Clydesdales were also prized for the ability to move large loads.
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As a side note, if the Budweiser Clydesdales come to your town you should not miss the occasion! The team arrives in state of the art trailers, and each of the horses has its own special groom decked out in an official uniform. The horses are usually stabled in a nice facility with each horse having its own stall.
A Clydesdale horse generally weighs between 700-1000 kg and stands between 167-183 cm. Even though the horses are very large they are generally considered to be very docile. At one time the horses were considered to be an endangered species, but thanks to specialized breeding programs the Clydesdale has made a comeback.
The Brabant Horse
The Belgian horse is sometimes referred to as the Brabant horse. It originated in Belgium and is among the strongest of the draft breeds. This hearty animal was bred for the harshest of conditions. Brabant horses have an average weight of 900 kg for males and 700 kg for females. They stand about 168 cm tall.
It is believed by some that the destriers of the Middle Ages were the ancestors of the modern Belgian horse. There is no specific evidence to support this claim. It is interesting to note that in the years following World War II, breeding was engineered for the Brabant horse to make the animal taller and leaner in the United States. In Europe, the horse was bred to be heavy and stout. This was presumably because draft horses were more heavily used in a practical way at that time in Europe.
An organization was ultimately founded in Indiana to maintain records of all the Belgian horses bred in the world today. The American Association of Importers and Breeders of Belgian Draft Horses may also be given some credit for making the Brabant horse the most popular type of draft horse seen in America today.
The Friesian Horse
Last but by no means least on this list of draft horses is the almighty Friesian. You can almost think of a Friesian as a Brabant horse with a fancy hairdo. Friesian horses are known for their curly manes and tales. Most Friesians are black in color. They stand an average of 15-17 hands high, making them one of the largest draft breeds at their tallest. The shortest of the breed are not much taller than the average horse.
There are some small numbers of chestnut and bay horses in this amazing breed. While the horses fall into the draft category, some examples are trained to become show horses. They compete in various riding competitions and can be a sight to behold when trained well. Their unique style of movement and gait is a pleasure to watch in the arena.
Just like the Brabant horse, there are two different types of Friesian conformations to be found in modern examples of the breed. The sport variety of the horse is generally thinner with finer bones. This is the variety of the horse that is usually found in the show ring.
Draft Horses and Horse Racing
You may be wondering if these draft horses compete in the sport of horse racing. The answer is no. The most common type of horse racing is contested among thoroughbreds in the United States and abroad.
Draft horses do not have the body style that would be appropriate for horse racing. That is a way of saying that they are too heavy. These horses cannot carry the speed that is required to be competitive in horse racing. What they can do very well is pull heavy loads.
In certain places of the United States, specifically the Amish populations of Pennsylvania and Kentucky, the draft breeds are used in the important work of farming. They are used almost exclusively in the place of modern equipment.
It is a wonderful thing to learn more about the breeds of horses throughout the world. Even though they do not compete in racing events, the draft horse breeds are amazing to watch and enjoy. You may even see the famous Budweiser Clydesdales when you attend live horse racing in your area. Many horse racing tracks welcome these horses to the track for special events.
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