The Australian Draught Horse has evolved over the years as a result of cross breeding the four recognized pure draught breeds (in Australia), and, in many cases, this is still being carried out today to produce heavy working horses. As a result, the Australian Draught Horse carries characteristics of these four pure breeds, and occasionally some light horse blood as well, as seen in the part-draughts. The purebred lines to be found in the Australian Draught today are: Clydesdale, Shire, Percheron and Suffolk Punch (as well as the more recent introduction of Belgians). The characteristics of these breeds can be found in virtually any combination in the Australian Draught, making many diverse types within the breed.
Australia’s early days, the Australian Draught was used to open up this country, with most farms using them as their ploughing horses or the horse to pull the wagons to railway sidings and docks. In the early days, these horses also had the role of taking the family to town or church. People often remember the horses “Grandad” had as being draught horses. There are many recollections of great teams of draught horses working the land or delving bore drains or building dams in rural Australia. Many stories survive of old “Dobin” who was used to carry the family of kids off to school, or “Blossom” who was so quiet the smallest of children could drive them around the paddock. They were as much a part of the family as the working dog.
Of all of the draught breeds available in Australia today, the Australian Draught would be the most popular. There are many that are not registered with the society but whose breeders adhere to the strict breeding guidelines of breeding quality working horses. Horses how can still carry out a full days work.
Like all the other breeds of heavy horses world wide, they suffered a setback to their numbers when the world embraced mechanisation. No longer were they needed to work the land in such numbers, the tractor had put an end to that. Though still today in some parts of QLD, NSW and Tasmania, you can find the odd farmer who has not given up his dream of working the land with these magnificent pieces of Australia’s living history.
The Australian Draught can be found competing in ploughing competitions in all states of Australia. As well as competing in harness classes and led classes. There are still some draught horses used in forestry work log snigging as they can get where the machinery cannot and do not damage the land as much.
The Australian Draught should have an average sized head with a broad forehead, clear docile eyes and alert ears. Their neck is of medium length and stallions have a well developed crest. The shoulder should be well muscled and blend smoothly into the chest, wither and back area.
The chest, hindquarter and hip are wide and muscled and the forelegs are set well under the body when viewed from the side. The Australian Draught should show good action and length of stride at the walk and trot with the hind foot stepping into or beyond the forefoot mark. They have a hardy constitution and enduring stamina.
If you are interested in a Draught Horse, check the link below: