The word “draft” originally comes from “draught,” an old word that means “to pull something.” From early times the draft horse was used as a source of “power” for farming, hauling freight and moving people around the country. Before the shift in the early 20th century to the tractor and increasing use of motor transport these stunning horses were to be found everywhere. The draft horse is well known as a hose of enormous bulk, huge muscular strength, patience and docility . . . and even though we lost a great number to the point in some cases of near extinction, due to the efforts of some very dedicated people the draft Horse was saved, we are still building up the numbers of these horses and in line with that they have over the lst few years enjoyed a renewed interest in this particular type of horse.
With this renewed interest we are seeing them back on the streets where they belong, and to many to actually see them under saddle is appealing to a whole new generation of horses lovers. We have a long way to go before we even come close to the numbers but the encouraging news is that the numbers are growing worldwide.
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 ever popular Shires hail from England.
To be considered a true draft horse, they must be of a solid build usually weigh around 1,400 to 2,000 lb (910 kg). And depending on if they are classed as a Modern Draft or Traditional Draft range from approximately 16 hands high to 19hh. The draft horse has decended from a mixture of sources and also with some natural selections and man’s intervention into what we see today.