- Italian Heavy Draft -

The Italian Heavy Draft horse originates in the northern regions of Italy and is very popular throughout the country. The breed began with rather experimental beginnings - native horses were crossed with the Brabant, the Percheron, and the Boulonnais, with airly unsuccessful results. Finally, the Breton horse was crossed with Italian mares. This provided the base for the Italian Heavy Draft.

Their studbook began in 1926, and they were bred specifically for draft and agricultural purposes, although they were also used by the Italian military to transport artillery. They are now also widely bred for the meat industry, which has led to some deterioration in conformation as breeders concentrate on producing maximum body mass and weight. They resemble the Breton quite strongly, but also the Avelignese.

The Italian Heavy Draft typically has an excellent temperament, as indeed many draft breeds do. They are quiet and biddable, as well as being economical feeders and easy to keep, They also mature quickly, which is an advantage both for the meat market and for working.

In appearance, the Italian Draft is a highly attractive, cobby-type horse with a quality head for a horse of its weight. They are of medium size, standing at between 15 and 16 hh, and have a compact, muscular body with well-sprung ribs and a strong back. The shoulders are generally good and very powerful, they are deep through the girth and have rounded, muscular quarters. They tend to have a short neck, which is often very thick through the jowl, and is thickset and very powerful. The legs can have rather poor conformation, being light in bone compared to their size, and having small joints. They also have a tendency toward boxy feet, which is an undesirable feature. Down the back of the legs there is some feathering, which is not seen in either the Avelignese or the Breton.

Their attitude is cob-like, being energetic and willing, and they have an excellent feast, energetic action, probably inherited from the swift moving Breton horse. In fact, their action is so good that they are commonly referred to as Tiro Pesante Rapido, or Quick Heavy Draft by the local people. Typically they are a deep chestnut color with a flaxen mane and tail, though they can also be chestnut or roan.

 

Return to Horse Breeds page