Belgian draft horse from the Maryland State Fair
|Distinguishing features:||Small head, thick and muscular neck, powerful shoulders and quarters, short legs with small amount of feathering. Chestnut or red roan in colour, they can stand up to 17 hh (1.7 m).|
|Alternative names:||Brabant |
Belgium Heavy Draft
|Country of origin:||Belgium|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
On average the Belgian will grow to weigh slightly over 1 ton or 2,000 pounds. Currently, the world's tallest Belgian Draft is Radar, a gelding foaled in 1998 in Iowa. He stands at 19.3½ hands high, which means he is 6 feet 7½ inches (2.02 metres) tall at the withers, and weighs over 2,400 lb (1,090 kg).
Belgians have a high occurrence of junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB), an inherited genetic disorder that causes newborn foals to lose large areas of skin and have other abnormalities, normally resulting in euthanasia. A study conducted in 2001-2003 found that 17.1% of tested Belgians in the US and Canada were carriers, including 13.5% of stallions and 28.9% of mares. If carriers are not mated, JEB can be avoided, and scientists are studying the disease further in the hope of completely eliminating it. Belgians have also been identified to be at risk for chronic progressive lymphedema, a chronic progressive disease that includes symptoms of progressive swelling, hyperkeratosis and fibrosis of distal limbs. The disease is similar to chronic lymphedema in humans.
Belgian horses are able to pull tremendous weights. At the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, a team of two horses in the Heavyweight class pulled 17,000 pounds a distance of 7 ft 2 in (7,700 kg a distance of 2.18 m). The team of Belgians weighed 4,800 pounds (2,200 kg). At the Iowa State fair, the heavyweight champions in the pulling contest pulled 14,600 pounds the complete distance of 15 ft (6,690 kg, 4.6 m). The team consisted of one Belgian and one Percheron and weighed 3,600 pounds (1,600 kg).
Historically, though it is possible they may have had ancestors who were destriers in the Middle Ages, their main use was as a farm horse.
Although the overall percentage of draft breeds among American horses has declined, the number of Belgians has increased.
In Britain, "Belgian Black" is a colloquialism used to describe a Friesian horse.
- ↑ Summerhayes, RS; "Horses & Ponies", Warne & Co, 1948
- ↑ "About Radar". Priefert Ranch Equipment. http://www.priefert.com/ranch.php?view=horses. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
- ↑ Church, Stephanie L. (March 1, 2004). "JEB in Belgian Draft Horses". The Horse. http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=5049. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- ↑ "Chronic Progressive Lymphedema (CPL) in Draft Horses". University of California, Davis. http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/elephantitis/about.html. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- ↑ "Picture of Brooklyn Supreme". Rural Heritage. http://www.ruralheritage.com/horse_paddock/horse_large_bs.htm.
- ↑ http://ultimatehorsesite.com/info/worldstallesthorse.html
- ↑ Belgian Draft Horse at International Horse Museum