The Australian Draught Horse is a breed of domesticated horses that evolved in Australia by crossing four pure draught breeds. This cold-blooded variety is known for its extreme hardiness, strength, and even temperament. As the name suggests, they were used for draught works in the past. However, in modern times, this breed is mostly used in different competitions and also as pleasure mounts.
|Behavioral Characteristics||Spirited, friendly, even-tempered, alert|
|Physical Traits||Strong and hardy physique with an average size head, but with a broader forehead; they have clear eyes that look very alert; the neck is of medium length; the shoulders are well muscled that evenly blends into the withers, the chest and the back; the chest, the hips and the hindquarters are wide; the legs have light to medium feathering; the stallions have well-developed crests|
|Category||Working Horse, Riding Horse, Agriculture Horse, Show Horse|
|Coat Colors||Black, White, Brown, Gray, Roan|
|Height/Size||16-17.2 hands (average for adult studs/stallions and mares)|
|Health Problems||Normally healthy with no breed-specific diseases|
|Uses||Work, general riding, pleasure riding, endurance|
|Ancestors (Bloodlines)||Clydesdale, Percheron, Shire, Suffolk Punch|
|Popular Traits||Hardy, healthy, multi-talented, calm, suitable for beginners/novice|
|Feeding/Diet||General horse diet including hay, grass, grains, etc.|
|Time of Development||1854|
|Country of Origin||Australia|
|Registration and Association Information||Breed Standard
In the 1850s, when the bullocks were responsible for heavy draught works, there was a need of strong draught horses for faster movement. In order to meet this need, it was during this period of the development of the agricultural industry that the Scottish settlers from Australia promoted the use of the Clydesdale horses. The Clydesdale breed, in the latter years, served as the breeding stock of the Australian Draught.
Over the years, the Australian Draught Horse developed by crossbreeding the four recognized pure draught horse breeds – the Clydesdale, Percheron, Shire, Suffolk Punch, all of which were introduced to Australia during the colonial period. However, there is also some light horse blood as well, as can be seen in part-draughts. The Belgian Draft blood was also introduced more recently. The characteristics of these breeds are extensively present in this horse, which is evident from the many colors and types within the breed.
They were primarily used for farm work and pulling carriages. However, with the introduction of technology, the machines replaced animals, and the population of these equines dwindled slightly.
Eventually, in 1979, the breed was officially established after the foundation of the ‘Australian Draught Horse Stud Book Society’, whose mission was to protect and document the breed.