How to Breed Draft Horses – Percheron – Blegium Horse -TvAgro by Juan Gonzalo Angel

throughout history horses have been domesticated by mankind for a wide variety of uses such as sport agriculture and heavy work the draft horse is a work animal prized for their pulling capacity they have played an important role in history during the time of the Industrial Revolution they were used for ploughing or pulling agricultural machinery and as horsepower attached to cars and carriages hence the name warhorse or draught horse all draft horse breeds share similar characteristics they tend to be very tall animals their height can range from 1.6 meters all the way up to 1.8 metres at the withers they possess a great deal of muscle and there are approximate weight ranges from 600 to 1,000 kilos among these breeds there are the Belgian and the Percheron for this program we will talk to experts in different regions of Colombia about these breeds also we learned about their characteristics how to care for them and what activities are performed with these animals Belgium lead if we go back a few years and we look at the first horses that were domesticated we can see that we always thought large tall horses that was what humans originally wanted that is very large horses and we looked for ways to achieve a very large size that actually resulted in certain complications in certain health problems since we bred horses that were so heavy they had problems with their aplomb in conformation from that point onwards people started to focus not just on size but under conformation we looked for horses that were easier to handle that had an easier time working whose conformation and bone structure facilitated movement and didn't work against it we started to focus away from aesthetics and towards functionality so nowadays those horses that weigh 1,200 kilos are not as common now what we seek are horses that weigh between 800 and 900 kilos maybe even 1,000 kilos but we're looking for more functional horses that don't have as many a plumb and conformation problems that prevent them from working and work is really their strong point that is what they are bred to do it's really useless to have a pretty-looking draft horse that cannot work Belgian work horses are known throughout the world for being heavy draft horses they are known as cold blooded the temperament of this particular breed is very different than that of the Columbian Criollo horse since it's very calm docile even tempered and gentle that makes it a horse that it's easy to work with it walks slowly due to its large sized body weight and corporeal strength this also facilitates its handling one of the main characteristics of these Belgian horses is that they only come in one color Sorel although in some occasions their tone can be either a little lighter or a little darker their mane and tails are also white as is the hair on the lower anterior and posterior areas these horses are very tall there are horses whose height ranges between 1.6 and 1.7 meters in height it's a horse with a very broad chest which is made for pulling their limbs our short bones thick and solid with good conformation the head is larger more compact with a flat forehead their eyes are sweet looking not like the eyes of an Arabian that are pointed their eyes are calm and sweet they are also called Brabant or Flemish horse just like Percherons they are horses that have been evolved in bred to pull loads for heavy work they are very resilient horses their main characteristic is their Sorel color in their white ming's which is an important detail for people and the general TV audience to note and it's that in Colombia we always associate large horses with Percheron but in reality Percheron only refers to a black and dappled horse this is a belgium they are very strong horses very docile with many of the same general characteristics of heavy draft horses they're noble attentive willing to work and they can generate that special energy and bond that you get between humans and horses through work heavy draft horses heavy draft horses all horses require special treatment in order to tame them so that they can perform a particular task or exercise and this breed is not the exception the work that these animals do when they start going through the taming process it takes a lot longer than with Criollo horses so you don't start taming as young with these horses you start their training when they are three and a half years old almost four when they have attained sufficient muscular skeletal formation so we can be assured that they can tolerate the strain they will endure and that we won't harm their health or development in any way these horses are initiated at an early age fortunately they are very docile which makes it possible for their training to be calm and easy it also depends on the type of work they are being prepped for either just as draft horses or if they will be written as well we start off working with ropes first the horse must be tamed from the back and from its mouth afterwards we can begin with hitching loads but that is done progressively first they are attached to carriages without any weight so that they can get used to it then they begin walking backwards turning walking forward and lastly they begin the exhibition our load carrying work that you need basically the job of these animals is to pull and carry this is their true function for this reason the horses are bred raised in genetically improved all of these processes are focused on their load carrying function and the job they have to fulfill in Colombia these draft breeds also have been used for sports pleasure riding and recreation a good percentage of them is found in the high plains of Kundun America I would say that Bogota is the place where draft horses have survived it's the place where they have had the most support where the Colombian Association of draft horses has fought so much for them raising them so they can improve every day so that the new lines that are being bred in the United States in Europe can arrive here and they can evolve into the animals we want to race hersh run breed the Belgian is not the only draft horse breed among this group of heavy draft horses there is also the Percheron let's explore some of its characteristics these are some of the breeds that we have here at the equine station among the draft breeds there is a great deal of variety we have two of the most important and recognized breeds in the world this one here is a pressure on this is a breed that originated in France and they are characterized by their two most common colors which are black and dappled these horses are called draft horses or cold blooded horses when we talk about cold blooded we are referring to character and temperament never to body temperature these are horses bred to pull and for traction on the field as well as for recreation entertainment and sport dappled Percheron this is another one of our breeding studs this is a horse that was imported from Argentina it shows another of the colors that you can find in Percheron horses we find them in black dappled or in a color that we call procedure or red apple speaking of feeding requirements people have the impression that because they're large horses they eat a lot it's logical that a horse will eat proportional to its size and the amount of feed is tied to that weight in that body volume but they have a given conversion capacity meaning that they don't necessarily have to eat large amounts of food in order to sustain a body like this once they reach a normal body conditioning as you can see in these horses which are a phenomenal size these horses tend not to be overly fat or overly skinny because of the work that they do they tend to be very athletic so perhaps people have some misconceptions with regards to larger horse really what sets these breeds apart is their conversion capacity that is their ability to convert more of their food into muscle mass this is the same with human beings and other living beings depending on their genetic traits their breeds and they will have a higher or lower conversion ratio no matter how much they eat as you can see these are very heavy horses very large in size and very strong I think nature is very wise I think it gave him outside strength in size but it also calmed down their temperament because otherwise that would be extremely difficult to handle this makes them more docile or quote more goofy end quote but this is also what makes him such a powerhouse in work and in sport so those are their main traits they are very peaceful and manageable animals but also very strong and powerful and if we know how to harness this strength then we will benefit greatly as is the case here in the park their role is to pull the carriages carrying tourists and take them around the park they work in a system that I call a trunk when we talk about a trunk in light of heavy draft horses we're talking about a carriage pulled by two horses at once so that they can divide the load and so that the horses can perform their job well heavy draft horses heavy draft horses a draft horse requires specialized care and conditions that are a function of its job to learn more about this carlos spoke to us about how these animals have adapted to these conditions everything undergoes a process of evolution conditioning and adaptation these horses were first imported many years ago and as with many other species that had been imported into Colombia over the years they had to adapt to this tropical climate we have imported equine and bovine livestock from Europe United States and other seasonal countries these horses traditionally belong in these colder climates if we were to talk about optimal conditions for them then we could say that they favor lower temperatures they work better at higher altitudes as well at any rate they have had time to adapt and nowadays you find them well adapted to all altitudes and climates they are very resistant unlike the Percheron there are a number of breeds that are more sensitive to temperature among these is the Belgian breed it's a breed that is affected by high temperatures they become agitated entire easily however it's a function of managing the adaptation generally all of these breeds are very resistant and easy to handle their nobility and tranquility are expressions of their true nature these character traits help them to better endure their workloads because as they expend more energy they become more Restless and their stress levels tend to increase crossbreeds one of the crosses we perform here and generally across the world is creating mules we know that they resolved as the cross between a horse and a donkey this particular animal here has the characteristic that she is the daughter of a draft mare she is a cross between a Percheron mayor and a Catalan donkey hence her size her strength her body size and her work capacity this mule is approximately 15 years old she arrived at the park while she was still very young and this is what she is known for around here meaning that people admire her a lot because it is rare to encounter a meal of this size but her size is due to what she inherited from her parents a Percheron draught layer and a Catalan donkey that's where she gets her strength and size we are constantly performing that cross here because as we all know mules have a very high work capacity and they're very resilient so we use them to give our horses a break for example if one of our horses has the ability to do it 24 or 30 kilometer route mules could easily double that workload so this allows us to increase our work capacity and improve the efficiency of our carriages without wearing at the animals so much so this is a cross that we do here all the time and with very good results mules are Noble docile and have a very high capacity for work they can maintain that productivity that body conditioning enduring less fatigue because she's the daughter of a draft mayor she will inherit that noble character from her mother so let's say that they can inherit the ease of taming and the ease of working and because that tranquil temperament they inherit will make it easier and faster to train them keep in mind that these animals are trained as draft horses not so much for writing you are not training the animal to perform difficult movements or turns or anything like that their training is really basic go forward go backwards and learn to handle loads that is all we try to do with draft horses teach them to tolerate and handle the loads that we're tasking them with we have had very good results particularly in terms of endurance these animals are what allow us to guarantee carriage service to visitors here at the park during times of demand overflow so that is how mules can offer us an advantage over horses in Colombia everyone likes meals and you can find many comments and stories regarding them personally I think everyone is looking for a good meal a pretty fat large meal I think that no matter where you place them these animals will always have lots of our Myers so I think it adds a lot of value to have them here they're also demanded in the marketplace here we sell a lot of meals like this one so we're consistently breeding them and handling them heavy draft horses heavy draft horses depending on their activities all horse breeds must receive specialized nutrition and care especially in the case of heavy draft horses let's look into their nutritional and care requirements these animals have a very sensitive metabolism these horses weigh anywhere between 850 and 1100 kilos by contrast a Criollo horse may weigh in a range between 340 and 400 kilos approximately in terms of nutrition they eat 10% of their live weight so these horses ingest a great deal of grass and fiber the horses that we keep here eat one bale of hay during the day and another during the night in addition to hay these horses can eat approximately ten kilos of cut grass the grass they are eating is king grass without any added mixtures it is grown between 40 and 45 days after it is cut it is left to rest for two to three days afterwards it is chopped and fed to the animals throughout the day at night we don't feed them cut king grass instead we feed them kikuyo which is previously bailed is not completely dry it is a grass that has been drying for four to five days in addition to that we feed them a kilo of feed concentrate every three hours meaning a total of six kilos of feed per day we are in a cold climate but because they are in confinement their water consumption is very high this is extremely important even more so than food they need to have fresh water all day that is we change out their water four or five times a day when the hay is dry it makes them very thirsty and add to that the feed and the salt so they need a lot of water first of all for us it's a special treat to be able to appreciate horses of this magnitude compared to these horses all others seem very small and I call everything else a small horse no matter how big they are generally speaking this breed of draught horses have a very noble temperament we can see that the Columbian Criollo horse has a temper as well as I'm not saying either one is better thankfully they have that temper because it's nice to ride a horse that is very eager but these horses are made for pulling and dragging they are patient and know how to wait imagine a horse tied to a wagon for four hours waiting to be loaded a Criollo horse would dig holes and try to eat the harness he'll be nervous by contrast these horses will remain completely calm just staring ahead one important detail is that you have to know how to handle these horses the person in charge of them must be skilled enough to accurately determine when the animal needs something or doesn't I don't think you can apply strict rules to horse management nor can you be arbitrary about it you have to constantly monitor the horse what it likes doesn't like what hurts or doesn't hurt so we try to keep very competent staff on hand with a highly developed common sense so that they can monitor the situation and make judgment calls with the horses as needed the contribution of the horse to the development of most civilization is incalculable but despite all of the services they have rendered to mankind our gratitude has not translated into humans providing horses with better living conditions they don't need medals or trophies they rise above human banality let's take care of them and help them feel free

As found on YouTube