Also known as the Belgian Heavy Horse, Brabançon or Brabant, the Belgian Draft is not only one of the strongest draft breeds, but this breed has also held the world record for the tallest & the largest horses in the world.
Historically, it is theoretically possible the Belgian may have had ancestors that were destriers in the Middle Ages, although no independent evidence supports this claim. The foundation stock for the Belgian was originally known as the Brabant. Other names for essentially the same breed include the Cheval de trait Belge, Brabançon, and Belgisch Trekpaard. Until the 1940s, the Belgian and the Brabant were essentially the same breed. Following World War II, the Brabant in Europe was selectively bred to be thicker bodied and heavier, while in the United States, the Belgian was bred to be somewhat taller and lighter bodied. The main use was as a farm horse. Closely related breeds include the Trait du Nord and Nederlands Trekpaard.
The Belgian Heavy Draft horse stands between 16.2 and 17 hands (66 and 68 inches, 168 and 173 cm). On average the Belgian grows to weigh slightly over 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds). Most American Belgians are a light chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. The head is relatively small and well-shaped. American Belgians in North America are not as large as the European Brabant but is of a similar build. Currently, the world’s tallest horse is a Belgian Draft horse named Big Jake, a gelding born in 2000. He stands 21.2 3⁄4 hands(86.75 inches, 220 cm) tall.
Belgians are still used as working animals, but have also become popular as show horses, and pleasure riding horses.
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).