The country of origin of the Italian Heavy Draft horse is Italy. It is a horse breed that has been developed in the northeastern plains of Italy and some parts of central Italy during the 1860s. Farmers needed a horse that will meet the heavy draft work on the fields. On the other hand the military needed a large war mount, so at the Deposito Cavalli Stalloni military stud they used native mares of Hack, Belgian Draft and Breton origin for crossbreeding them with Belgian Draft, Brabant stallions.
The producing results were a heavy draft horse that is light and speed. But breeders were not satisfied, because the offspring wasnt fast and light enough for an ideal agriculture work and transportation in the artillery. Hence, they continued to add other bloodlines, such as the massive Belgian Draft, Brabant, Percheron and more Breton blood.
The crossbreeding with different horse breeds continued through the 19th and the 20th centuries till they brought the breed to its present confirmation and gaits. The first studbook was established in 1926, when selection processes started for developing horse breed which will excel in draft purposes. The breed was and still is very popular and is always rising, except in the period of the World War II and during the growth of the mechanization when the need for a draft horse all over the world was significantly decreased. This was repaired in the late 20th century when a breeds association brought back in life the breed by careful breeding program with adding Ardennes, Percheron and Breton bloodlines.
The association was founded in 1976 and its goal is to preserve and protect the breed. All horses have to pass strict inspection twice and are marked on the left hindquarter after the first examination and branded on the left side of the neck after the send examination.Today the breed has approximately 6350 registered Italian Heavy Draft horses and the majority is in Lazio and Umbria, as well in plains around Verona, Padova, Vicenza, Venice and Treviso. The alternative name for the breed is the Rapid Heavy Draft, the Italian Working Horse or Cavallo Agricolo Italiano da Tiro Pesante Rapido CAITRP.
It is the only draft breed in Italy and has its own distinguish characteristics, known for the extreme combination of speed and strength.The Italian Heavy Draft is a medium sized horse, standing between 14.2-16 hands high and their weight ranges between 570-700 kg. Usually they have liver chestnut coat color with flaxen mane and tail, but red roan and bay coat colors can also appear.