Best Draft Horse For Farm Work

Paul Gonzalez
• Monday, 12 October, 2020
• 8 min read

Very few homesteads use actual “horsepower” on their farms these days, preferring instead to rely on mechanized power. Here are some best draft horses to consider, the top breeds for your homestead, and all the major reasons why you should get started with this old-fashioned skill.

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They are perfect when it comes to tilling and plowing, as well as pulling carts, logs and tractors stuck in mud. Draft horses are ideal for people who want to log the forest or till the field without completely tearing it up and compacting the soil.

Because horses have better weight distribution than heavy machinery, they can work more efficiently and with less long term impact on the land. Plus, draft horses are more nimble than these pieces of equipment, allowing you to work in harder-to-reach or muddy areas without getting stuck.

Gentle giants, they are the perfect breed to build confidence in young learner riders. Bred specifically for farm work, this horse has a gorgeous cream coat and amber-colored eyes.

A chestnut-colored horse with a white mane and tale, the Belgian measures up to 17 hands and weighs roughly a ton. They are usually bay colored with notable white feathering, but can also be brown, black, roan, and chestnut.

A French draft horse, the Percheron is native to La Perch, just southeast of Normandy. A large horse, it is usually black or a beautiful dapple gray but other colors can be found, too.

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(Source: sterlingcollege.edu)

A black horse with white markings, the Shire is becoming more popular on the farm as well as in the show arena. Yet despite their size and stature, has a wonderful temperament and grabs attention everywhere they go, plus they make a beautiful tourist attraction when used to pull wagons.

First imported from Great Britain in the 1880s, this horse is unfortunately listed as critically threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Bred in Europe after World War II, Brabant is a thick-bodied Belgian with heavy leg feathering.

It’s not a super common breed of draft horse, yet it is a strong, leggy horse that’s perfect for work around the homestead, as can be seen above. Native to the Netherlands, the Frisian horse is a graceful, nimble light draft horse that has been used as a warhorse in the Middle Ages.

With their striking black color, high-stepping action, and flowing wave manes and feathers, this is a useful horse to have around the homestead. They are sturdy and eager to please and are frequently used in show competitions for umping, far work, and endurance.

A typical Harbinger will stand about 15 hands tall and weigh roughly 1,000 lbs, making it one of the smaller draft horse breeds. You will need to provide them with regular veterinary care and be aware of various potential health issues, too.

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(Source: thegreenhorns.wordpress.com)

The minimum daily caloric requirement for one of these creatures is at least 10,000 calories for every 1,000 lbs of body fat. Some medical issues are specific to draft horses, such as Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy.

This condition causes the muscle fiber to atrophy as a result of the body’s inability to metabolize starches. At the end of the day, caring for a draft horse comes down to being attentive to your individual horse ’s needs and abilities.

It’s best to exercise caution in the beginning, too, particularly if you are working with a young or inexperienced team. Watch out for the potential health issues that your breed is prone to, and inspect your animals daily for signs of injury or illness.

Draft horses also have a more difficult time controlling their own body temperatures during the hot summer months. Make sure you have a shady area on your property, either in the barn or the pasture, where they can cool off.

Always carefully inspect the hooves of your horses before bringing them home, as this will give you an idea of their overall health. If you’re new to drafthorsework, you might want to consider buying an older team that has been trained well with an experienced teamster.

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(Source: feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com)

Horses have better weight distribution than heavy machinery, so they can work more efficiently in fields. They have a long and lean head and large eyes that add to their beauty.

These strong horses are used for farm work, and also in cities to work in warehouses, freight stations and fishing wharves. This horse breed is known for its heavy body, short but strong legs, and thick muscles.

It is a breed of horse developed and now mostly found in Austria and northern Italy. They are small, and mostly have a chestnut color with flaxen mane and tail.

They are commonly used for hauling heavy loads and as a means of transportation, as they are sturdy, all-purpose horses. They have a muscular build with a broad, flat forehead and small, upright ears.

Percheron's can be good horses for beginner riders because of their docile natures. They have a sweet, tolerant, and easygoing nature that makes them popular with inexperienced horse owners.

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One of the most graceful animals in the world, The Frisian horse is a breed from Friesland in the Netherlands. These horses have a thick mane and tail, and feathery hair on lower legs.

Frisian horses are very versatile and can be used in riding for pleasure and in competitions. They are a rare and beautiful breed and have a gentle but elegant nature.

They are found in many European countries as well as in North and South America. When they were initially reared, they were originally one of the smaller breeds of draft horses.

Today, they are especially popular for crossbreeding to produce the popular Irish Sport Horses which excel at the highest levels of events like show jumping. They are athletic and full of energy with magnificent, robust bodies.

It has a distinct cream gold color and a white glossy mane with amber eyes. The Suffolk Punch is an English breed of draft horse.

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(Source: www.pinterest.com)

The Suffolk Punch is the oldest native horse breed found in Britain. Unfortunately, there are now just 300 Suffolk Punch horses left in the UK.

It was developed in the '30s for its medium size, good disposition, and characteristic pink skin, amber eyes, and cream-colored coat. This breed has strong, short legs and is intelligent, calm, and gentle.

American Minor Breeds Conservancy Status: Rare, which means it has less than 200 registrations per year. The compact, powerful Belgian has been the most popular U.S. draft breed since 1937.

It shares honors with the Shire as the heaviest of the drafters, but often eats less than a thoroughbred. This breed is block, wide-bodied, an easy keeper, and a hard puller.

MBC Status: Watch, meaning it has less than 5,000 registrations per year or a declining population. This is the oldest existing general-purpose light breed suitable for riding, driving, and farm work.

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(Source: westcoasthorsemen.com)

It is used today primarily as a carriage horse and in riding events and dressage. This breed is quiet, tolerates heat, and has small feed requirements.

This breed is versatile and tough and performs well in harness and saddle. It's a hard worker, with a long stride better suited to hauling and haying than to plowing or logging.

This breed is nimble, quiet, a fast-paced worker and a quick learner. This breed shows exceptional stamina and longevity, and makes a gentle, willing worker.

This handsome animal is known for its refined lines, lively action, and hard-pulling stamina. This breed is long-lived and heat-tolerant; it is also bold and shows quick action at a trot.

MBC Status: Watch (less than 5,000 registrations per year or a declining population). Dubbed “gentle giants” in deference to their imposing size and mild disposition, Shires are believed to closely resemble the Great Horse ridden by medieval knights.

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(Source: homestead.motherearthnews.com)

Used for coach and carriage as well as farm work, Canadians served as cavalry mounts in the Civil War and were foundation sires for such American breeds as the Morgan and the Saddle bred. This breed is hardy and versatile, and is known for its lively gait MBC Status: Rare (less than 200 registrations per year).

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