Draft Horse Breeds - Still Useful and Popular in America
The word "draft" originally comes from "draught," an old word that means "to pull something." From early plows to carriages to fire trucks, draft horses have pulled them all. Without strong draft horse breeds, this country wouldn't have been built. The original work horse plowed the farms, provided transportation and helped to build the great American railroads. With the onset of the automobile, the number of draft horse breeds in the U.S. rapidly declined, but the proud work horse is enjoying resurgence and making a comeback.
Most draft horse breeds are bred for the region in which they were developed. For example, the Clydesdale draft horse breed came to being in Clydesdale, the Irish Draught in Ireland and the Belgian was born in Belgium where it was more suited to the climate and soil. The French draft horse breed is known as the Percheron, while the popular Shires hail from England. The only American draft horse is the American Cream Draft, originally bred in Iowa.
To be considered a true draft horse, a horse needs to reach at least 19 hands at the withers and weigh more than 2,600 pounds. The draft is believed to have descended from a primitive ancestor known as the Forest Horse, eventually conforming and specializing into its individual specialty breeds.
Despite their size, draft horse breeds are known for their docile nature and easy handling, and are often referred to as "Gentle Giants". Through hundreds, if not thousands of years of breeding, most draft horse breeds exhibit a stoic and solid temperament that's both admirable and rewarding.
After the second World War, America began to turn to automobiles and mechanized farm machinery, and the popularity of the draft horse declined. However, today, thanks to environmental movements, a desire for mobility and agility and fuel efficiency woes, draft horse breeds are coming back in style. For example, parts of the small-scale logging industry have returned to using draft horses to remove timber. Because the horses manoeuvre better than heavy machinery, cause less environmental damage and cost significantly less, they're quickly becoming a popular choice.
When it comes to farm work, a large range of horse equipment is still available, along with draft horse team breeders and specialties. Newcomers to team driving often purchase a complete and trained team of horses, along with lessons on hitching and driving. When it comes to providing a renewable source of energy, it doesn't get much better than draft horse breeds. As for riding, draft horse breeds often provide a comfortable ride with an easy gait akin to sitting in a rocking chair. From trail riding to even dressage, draft horses are easily trained and ready and willing.
Today, contemporary draft horse breeds are not only part of our heritage, but also our sustainable future. Whether you're a farmer, logger or simply a hobbyist, these beautiful and gentle giants have something wonderful to offer you. With awe-inspiring power, unwavering strength, stoic temperaments and grace, these beasts will win their way into your heart.
CS Swarens is the president of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065
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