Belgian 'Brabant' Draft horse

In Belgium, a small country in the west of Europe, a horse is bred that in former days had the respect of the complete world. Yet horses were and still are regularly exported to the farthest corners of the world.

History in brief

Belgium – a small country in Europe - is the country of origin of this breed. The breeding of this horse dates from the early 17th century. The studbook organization was founded in 1886 and since then the quality of the horses and the breeding in general strongly improved. The Belgian Draft Horse became quickly a worldwide renowned resulting in a strong growth of the export to, among others, America, Germany, Italy, Russia, France,... .

Shortly after the end of World War II, the advance of general mechanization started an unbeatable battle against horsepower and the number of drafts declined spectacularly.

Today it is the love and passion of the limited number of remaining breeders which keeps the Draft Horse alive but the ever decreasing number of foals is a threat for inbreeding and even extinction. The Studbook organization does a lot of effort to preserve this beautiful breed.

The breed

Their mighty appearance combined with a gentle character make the Belgian Draft Horse a unique animal.

Humored, gentle, willing to work, lively, tough and brave, but also sensible.

Belgian draft horses are by nature little demanding. In winter, their coat is thick so that they can stay outside. Only their outer coat gets wet while the undercoat will remain dry.
A non-working draft horse has enough with hay and/or grass and, if necessary, some additional vitamin/mineral supplement. A working draft horse has enough with daily an extra feed ration of about two kilograms of complete horsefeed.

Below a summary of the breed standard of the Belgian Draft Horse:

  • Height at the withers: there is no minimum or maximum height. Ideally: 1.70m for stallions and 1.66m for mares.
  • Color: all basic colors and rouan variants of them are admitted. (view pictures at the right)
  • Characteristics:
    • Head: a vivid expression, straight line in profile, parallel, light in comparison with the mass of the horse
    • Neck: for mares implanted long and high, more robust muscled for stallions
    • Shoulder: good inclination 45° horizontal
    • Back: straight, short and wide
    • Croup: wide, splitted, long, slightly inclined
    • Limbs: correct positions and clear distinction of each part
    • Movement: regular, correct and high, plenty of power from the hindquarters and a proud attitude

Colors of the Belgian Draft Horse

The three basic colors of horses are bay, black and chestnut. Different from most other breeds the invariable gray-factor occurs a lot in drafthorses. It's called roan (or rouan). In the coat there are white hairs between the principal color. Every main colour has it roan-variant: bay roan, blue roan and red roan.
This gray-factor is invariable: by getting older the number of white hairs does not increase. There are also real gray horses but this color is very rare in the Belgian Draft Horse.

So there are 7 colours but in these there are many variations in darkness. Only black is black!
Currently, the most common color is the bay roan.



Chestnut / Sorrel

Bay roan

Blue roan

Red roan or Strawberry roan

Gray (Dapple Gray)

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