The Belgian horse is a breed that the name itself tells the country of origin- Belgium. It is a cold-blooded, heavy, draft horse that is native to West-Brabantian region of Belgium. This region is blessed with fertile land and excellent pastures which can develop a heavy, strong horse breed. The breed is also called Belgian Heavy Horse or Brabant and is one of the most powerful and versatile heavy horse breeds
One theory tells that their ancestry comes from the time of Caesar in the Middle Ages when large black horses were used for war purposes. These -Great Horses- were called Flemish or Brabant and the genetic material proves that there is a slight difference with all modern draft horses. In the 15th and 16th century the breed was exported from Belgium throughout Europe as working animal and to improve the local stock.
The first official studbook was formed in 1885. The first arrivals in the United States were in the 19th century and the last was at the beginning of the Second World War. There they were used mostly for farm work, but comparing with the Brabant from Europe these were bred to be somewhat taller and lighter bodied with long, sloping shoulders and patterns.
In 1887, an Association was established in Indiana, in order to register and follow tracks of all Belgian Draft horses, which actually are today`s most popular of the all other draft horses in the USA. Until 1940 the Belgian from the United States and from Europe were considered to be the same breed, but the American bloodlines are taller, more refined and almost all of them are chestnut or roan with a flaxen, white or blond mane, tale, and points, thus they differ from the original stock. The Belgian is a big, powerful horse with a deep, strong foot and overall muscled appearance.
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