Today’s Belgian draft horse is extraordinarily versatile. Besides being used in its traditional role as a source of farm/ranch power and logging operations, many owners compete in halter, hitch and riding classes, horse pulls and plowing competitions. Others are employed in the tourism industry, in carriage services and used in advertising and any number of means for pleasure and recreation.
American breeders have developed a much different animal than was first imported from Belgium, starting in the late 1800s. Besides the predominance of sorrels, chestnuts and blonds, the modern Belgian possesses unmistakable style in the neck and head, sloping shoulders and pasterns, a strong level back and large shapely feet. His bone is clean and flat, its hocks sharp and straight and it moves elegantly at both the walk and trot. Yet along with these changes, the Belgian has retained its depth of middle, heavy muscling, close coupling and easy keeping qualities that have made it “America’s Draft Horse Breed Supreme.”