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What makes an Australian Draught Horse

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 9 months ago

Adapted from now defunct website at:  http://www.australiandraughtqld.org/history.htm




In 1979 the Australian Draught Horse Stud Book Society Inc. was officially formed. Most working horses in Australia in the past were not purebred, so the Society was relatively relaxed about its breeding regulations in the early days; today however, there is a strict breed standard in place, though this does not restrict unregistered draught horses, or registered draught horses of other breeds competing in field days and shows around Australia.


It is a horse which was bred for the harsh Australian conditions, and has survived as the dominant breed since the first draught horses were bred in the nineteenth century from crosses with those imported at the time of settlement. Cross breeding is still conducted to produce working horses and, as such, the Australian Draught will carry the best characteristics of all those pure breeds, Clydesdale, Shire, Percheron and Suffolk Punch, and more recently Belgian Draught.











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 which still carry out a full day's work.



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. Recently, ridden classes for draught horses have been introduced to show society schedules. 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 horse comes in all solid colours, although excessive white is not favoured on the face or body, and white below the knee is acceptable. The average height is between 16 and 17.2 hands. The feathering on the legs should be light to medium, depending on bloodlines.







Ideally, these horses will weigh between 600 and 900 kilograms. They are exceptionally intelligent, strong, and versatile, have a kind temperament, are hard working and people orientated. The Australian Draughts 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, hindquarters 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. As a hybrid bearing the best features of other heavy breeds, this horse has a hardy constitution and enduring stamina.



Horses are admissible to the stud book on official classification. Classification involves a scoring on the characteristics of the horse, then the horses that pass are branded on the hip. Only classified horses carry this ADH brand.

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