DRAFT HORSE

Scientific Name: Equus caballus
Order
Perissodactyla

Family
Equidae

Habitat & Range
In the late 19th century, thousands of draft horses were imported to the United States from France, Belgium, England and Scotland. They were widely used as work horses, but after World War II the invention of the tractor reduced the need for draft horses. Today, they are used mainly in show and pulling competitions.

Identification
Recognized for their tall stature and muscular build, draft horses tend to have a more upright shoulder and a broad, short back. They have a great deal of feathering on their lower legs. Draft horses range from 5 to 6 feet tall and 1,400 to 2,000 pounds.

Diet
The metabolism of a draft horse is similar to a pony in that it has low needs per body weight. Most are fed only 0.3% of their body weight in grain per feeding. Those that do not require extreme energy can be fed quality grass.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Draft horses are often crossbred with light riding horses to increase the height and weight of offspring.

Fantastic Fact
Horsing Around
In many areas of today’s society, draft horses are used for pulling wagons and carriages. They are particularly popular with groups such as the Amish and Mennonite farmers. On Michigan’s Mackinaw Island, motorized vehicles were banned in the late 19th century to protect draft horses. To this day, horse drawn carriages and bicycles serve as the only modes of transportation on the island.

 
 
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