Estonian Draft

By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 2, 2010

The Estonian Draft is a horse breed that originated in Estonia, formerly part of the Soviet Union. Considered rare today, the breed is suited to heavy draft work.


Physical Characteristics


Standing at an average height of 15 to 15.2 hands ((60-61 inches, 152-155 centimeters), modern-day Estonian Draft horses are bony and are of the harness type. Its body is densely-muscled and compact, which is suitable for heavy draft work.


Personality and Temperament


The Estonian draft horse is an enduring, undemanding breed with a calm temperament.


History and Background


The Estonian Draft was developed through a selective crossing process. Specifically, Estonian native mares were mated with the larger Ardennes horses from Sweden -- this is the reason why it is also called the Eston-Arden horse. The crossbreeding efforts were initiated in an attempt to produce a great working horse of large size with a strong body, great endurance, and good temperament. Bascially, the perfect working horse. They selected the parent stock based on various criteria: for instance, the horse should be of a good size; it should be lean rather than heavy; it should have an efficient metabolism; it must be calm and it must have a great aptitude for work.


Offspring of the initial crosses were interbred and further crossbred to come up with a horse that had all the desired qualities. The result of these highly-selective and controlled breeding procedures is the Estonian Draft Horse.


The Eston-Arden breed is a horse that is in high demand. Even so, there is a small number of Estonian Draft horses. Currently, around 40 farms breed the Eston-Arden. Only twelve of these are major producers.

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