8 Belgian Horse Breeds and Their Characteristics

Belgian horses at sunrise

Belgian horses are a popular breed across the globe. Belgian horses were traditionally bred for draft work and to pull carriages. They have been extensively used in warfare throughout history. Belgian horses come in many different shapes and sizes with unique characteristics that make them all special. Here are 8 Belgian horse breeds along with their most defining features. Let’s get the hang of the most popular horses in this region.

Ardennais horse

1. Ardennais

The Ardennais or the Ardennes Horse is a Belgian breed that was developed in the Ardennes region. The horse breed features heavy bones, large hooves, and imposing stature. Ardennais horses are typically black with white markings on the face. But they may come in various solid colors including bay roan with flaxen mane and tail which makes them look like Clydesdale horses. The Ardennais usually stands at 16 hands tall with a weight between 2000-2400 pounds for males. Females stand around 14 hands high. These are large horses that require you to wear safety equipment when going around them. Consider a solid riding helmet and boots to keep yourself secured.

This breed has been used extensively throughout history by knights during the battle due to its impressive size and strength. Today, they serve multiple purposes. They range from work to carriage driving competitions while maintaining their poise.

A wide range of horse breeds has participated in improving the Ardennais. It concludes the Arabian, Thoroughbred, Percheron, Belgian Draft, and more. The horses were crossbred to change the appearance and characteristics of the Belgian horse breed.

Belgian Trotter

2. Belgian Trotter

Belgian Trotters are incredibly fast horses capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph while trotting. Although this pace is usually maintained for short periods only. They have a lightweight build and achieve quick bursts of speed with an easy gait that has been compared to floating on air. Belgian Trotters are great for riders who want to race their horses.

The Belgian Trotter is a result of crossbreeding native horses and Thoroughbreds. That’s why the breed is also known as the Half-Blood Trotter. The conformation is similar to the French Trotter, but the Belgian horse breed is rather lighter-bodied.

The average Belgian Trotter height ranges from 14.2 to 15 hands tall. The weight is about 2000 pounds. The common coat colors include chestnut and bay. The breed is usually used in competitions like harness racing, pulling, and saddle trotting.

Belgian Draft Horse

3. Belgian Draft Horse

Belgian Draft horses stand between 16-18 hands tall. They weigh around 2600 pounds for males and 1800 pounds for females. The Belgian Draft is known as the “gentle giant” due to its calm temperament despite its intimidating size. The Belgian breed comes in all types of colors. These include black, grey, brown, chestnut, dun, buckskin, palomino, perlino, roan, sabino, spotted white, etc.

The tallest horse is actually a Belgian Draft horse named Big Jake which height is 20.2 3/4 hands. Draft horses are commonly used in working, showing, and pleasure riding.

Belgian Draft Horses have a heavy build with powerfully strong limbs that allows them to carry weight without any sign of strain. Their heads tend to be plain but alert-looking. While they display long thick tails which flow along behind them when in motion.

Belgian Sport Horse

4. Belgian Sport Horse

Belgian Sport Horses are bred to excel in show jumping, dressage, eventing, and driving. These versatile horses can do it all but they don’t necessarily have to be “show” champions to qualify for these events. Belgian Sport Horses tend to move with effortless energy. This makes them very popular among riders looking for their next horse competition mount.

The Belgian Sport horse has received much recognition as being among one of the best dressage horses. Belgian breed features its calm disposition, good appearance, and impressive physical characteristics. This breed should never be under-estimated. Since it possesses all qualities necessary for a successful career on stage.

The common coat colors include bay, chestnut, brown, black, and grey. The Belgian Sport Horse is easy-going and gentle. These horses have a natural desire to learn which is a plus when training.

Belgian Riding Pony

5. Belgian Riding Pony

The Belgian Riding Pony was created by crossing small draft breeds like Ardennes ponies. This is another Belgian draft horse breed that has proved itself in many different sports activities. These are show jumping, eventing, dressage, or even endurance riding.

It is an ideal pony for children to ride on. the breed can reach heights of 13 hands high with a weight of up to 800 pounds when fully grown. The Belgian Riding Pony produces horses that are good-natured but fiery at the same time. This makes them exciting mounts for junior riders who want something more than just gentle placid ponies.

Belgian Riding Ponies have great instinctive jumping abilities. They acquired them from their Thoroughbred ancestors making this one of Belgium’s top breeds. Especially suitable for young people looking for competitive sport horses.

Belgian Warmblood

6. Belgian Warmblood

The Belgian Warmblood is a Belgian breed of horse developed as cavalry horses. The Belgian Warmblood is known for its outstanding jumping and dressage abilities. These horses are also loved for their speed and stamina.

The Belgian Warmblood produces show jumpers with a great presence. It’s due to their impressive height (17 hands high) and good bone structure. Their movement is elegant yet powerful. This makes them top athletes in the world of sports such as eventing or combined driving. Where they excel especially at higher levels like the World Equestrian Games or Olympic level events.

Belgian Warmbloods are versatile horses that can be ridden by both professionals and amateurs. You should always bear in mind that these horses need careful treatment. They do not tolerate rough handling well under any circumstances.

Zangersheide horse

7. Zangersheide

The Zangersheide horse breed is one of the four Belgian horse breeds that has been approved as a purebred horse. The Zangersheide horses are what we now know as classic sports horses with an elegant appearance. The Belgian horse breed also features an impressive athletic ability for competition in dressage, jumping, eventing, and combined driving.

Zangersheide horses are good to ride even for amateurs. As they have great endurance and can be used on all types of terrain due to their phenomenal jumping abilities. The average height of a Zangersheide horse is 16 to 17 hands tall. The common colors are bay, chestnut, black, and grey.

The Zangersheide horse temperament is gentle, placid, and tolerant. Such traits make these horses extremely valuable in addition to their physical abilities.

Flemish Horse

8. Flemish Horse

The Flemish Horse is an extinct horse breed. The last records referred to the Belgian horse breed trace back to the 1900s. Some horse breeders crossbred their horses with the Flemish Horse. It resulted in developing the Belgian Draft Horse that is a well-known breed nowadays.

The Flemish Horse was a steady and agreeable horse breed. They were willing to work and please their owners. Being draft horses, Flemish Horses pulled heavy weights and worked in the fields. The average weight of a Flemish Horse was around 2200 pounds.

Belgian Draft lying down on ground

Belgian Horse Breeds Revealed

Belgian horses are steady and versatile equines that have been used for centuries. They are ideal as work animals, excellent riding mounts, and for the show ring. Belgian horses are often seen with their manes braided or pulled back into high ponytails. This makes them look like they’re ready to go on adventures. Such horses require special care and solid grooming to prolong their life.

Belgian horse breeds feature long legs and muscular bodies that can carry heavier riders without tiring. In fact, some Belgians boast of being able to pull loads up to 3 times its weight! Check out these outstanding 8 Belgian horse breeds to choose your ideal farm work companion.

Image Source: shutterstock.com, chinadaily.com.cn, ehorses.com, breedingnews.com.

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David Garcia

David Garcia

David Garcia is a vivid writer and a big fan of equestrian sports. He founded Horsezz – the blog where David shares his knowledge and experience about horses, tack, equestrian riding equipment, taking care of horses, and other useful guidelines.