Draft Horses Article

Draft horses is the subject on which a Milwaukee correspondent of the Prairie Farmer writes: "I am fond of blooded stock of all kinds, and I am convinced that farmers to be successful must discard all scrubs, and get the better horses. What kind each farmer must have will, however, always be in dispute.

"We find that in draft horses, more than in any other stock, horse breeders differ as to the best and most profitable for them to raise.

"The thoroughbred horse belongs to the rich man; the trotter, which many farmers have tried to produce, has proven in their hands to be like growing tomatoes in winter.

"The different breeds of the draft horse which attract so much attention at our shows, are claimed by most breeders and trainers to be too large for farm or road.

"They only see at such places overgrown, pampered equines, raised on milk and cooked feed, and are only fit for butchers. You have only to go to the stalls, at such places, and see the kettle with boiled barley, oats, etc., to be convinced of this.

"There are breeds of large horses to be found in many parts of Europe. But in their natural state, before the show rings were in vogue, these horses were very coarse, raw boned and lazy, and only used in large cities by corporations, principally for advertising.

"I saw great horses of the Flemish and Norman breeds, some of them 21 hands high, in the iron works in South Wales fifty years ago, and to me they looked like a log on four poles. We are importing into this country at the present time this same breed of horses, a little modified and improved in looks, through feeding; and until the horse breeder knows of his own knowledge what kind of a horse he can raise for profit, so long such horses will be imported and find patronage.

"There are many of your readers who have heard of the Norman horse, and the Percheron horse, and the Norman Percheron horse, but have no idea that there is any difference in the breeds. But there is as much difference between them as there is between the thoroughbred English horse and the Clydesdale.

"To produce the Percheron, the Norman mares were bred to the Spanish Andalusian horses, and the product of this cross were bred to the Barb horse, which were then bred up to the present pure Percherons. This breed is found in the central part of France - formerly the old Orleans district - where a true history of the breed is kept.

"The Clydesdale is a cross of the large Belgian Norman and Flemish horse on the large mares of England and Scotland. They have been improved in style and nerve force, which were much needed for a show horse. But I am sorry to say that many of the present Percheron horses which are imported into this country by speculating horse breeders are larger than they should be according to their pedigree of breeding.

"This horse, according to history, was by the Barb horse, Gallipola, out of mares by Andalusian horses, which were also of Barb and Arab blood. Gallipola, like all the Barbs, was small, not standing over 14 1/2 hands, and if like produces like such horses should not produce horses measuring 17 to 18 hands and weighing 2,000 pounds and over.

"The Percheron horses, as found in the diligences of France, weigh in good flesh from 1200 to 1200 pounds, of good action, and would be called in this country promising trotters. There is no doubt that many stallions crossed with some of our well-bred mares would produce fast horses. I have seen many colts in my travels through France which, if they had been bred in this country and showed such a promising gait, would and have been put to training.

"And we must look to the Barb for this nerve force, and not alone in the Percheron, to draw a heavy load and make good time with the diligence, but to our American fast trotter in Messenger through his sire and grand-sire down to Alexander's Norman and the best of the English thoroughbreds."

And so was written in the late eighteen-hundreds about Percheron, Norman Percheron and Clydesdale draft horses.