The Belgian draft horse was developed in the fertile pastures of Belgium. It was also there that the forefather of all draft horses was first bred—a heavy black horse used as knights’ mounts called the Flemish. The Belgian draft horse developed from this horse and carries many characteristics of the Flemish even today. The Belgian was primarily used for farm work but also in cities to work alongside other draft breeds in warehouses, freight stations and fishing wharfs. In 1866, the first Belgian arrived on American soil. In 1885 men in Wabash, Ind., started a business importing Belgian stallions and selling them to horse breeders throughout the Midwest. Today, the horses are used for hobby and historical farming, forestry work and pleasure driving.
The Belgian is instantly recognized by its sorrel color, usually with a white mane and tail, white face markings and four white socks or stockings. Roan is also seen as well as the occasional throwback bay. The Belgian stands from 16 to 18 hands and can pull a wagonload of 6,000 to 8,000 pounds and work eight to 10 hours a day.
For more information:
The Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America, www.belgiancorp.com