Europe - Italy

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The Italian Heavy Draught originated during the second half of the 19th century at Ferrara in the north of Italy. Neapolitan, Arabian and Hackney horses were crossed to produce an active, light weight work horse. Later when there was a need for a heavier farm and a heavy artillery horse, breeders introduced new blood, mainly Boulonnais. The breed became also known as Agricultural Heavy Horse. In the 1920's pure-bred Breton stallions were used to produce the present day Italian Heavy Draught horse renown for its conformation and ability to maintain good speed when pulling heavy loads.
An Italian Heavy Horse Stud Book opened in 1961. Horses that are accepted are branded with a five-runged ladder with a shield on the near side of the hindquarters.

attractive, stocky, muscular built
Head: small, square head; straight profile; broad forehead; large, bright eyes; small, mobile ears; large nostrils
Neck: muscular, slightly arched
Shoulders: well sloped
Body: short, strong back; deep chest; slightly sloping croup
Legs: short, very strong limbs; large joints; muscular forearms; short pasterns
Feet: large, well shaped
Mane and Tail: flaxen color
Color: predominantly chestnut, occasionally dark bay
Height: stallions 15 to 16hh, mares 14 to 15hh
Temperament: gentle
Qualities: strong, active paces

The Italian Heavy Draught horse can still be seen working on small farms. It is also used for meat production.