The Ardennes breed is a typical draft breed. They are well-equipped for heavy agricultural labor, they have a high level of energy and endurance, they are calm and docile and can be handled even by children.
History and Origins
The Ardennes breed is a typical draft breed. They are well-equipped for heavy agricultural labor, they have a high level of energy and endurance, they are calm and docile and can be driven even by children. This breed has been developed in the border area between France and Belgium. Today, a Swedish variation of the breed exists, as well as a Romanian one. It appears to be a very old breed, mentions of it dating as far back as Ancient Rome, during Julius Caesar’s military campaigns in Gallia. According to another hypothesis, this breed is a descendant of the Solutre horse. In Napoleon’s time, the breed was infused with Oriental blood, thus its endurance became even greater. It appears that specimens of this breed played an important part in Napoleon military campaign in Russia, and during the First World War, these horses were used by the Dutch in order to draw the artillery equipment.
Today these horses are used in agriculture, as well as in forest exploitation, as Belgian peasants regard them as ideal tractors. The breed’s genealogical register, which records the most valuable specimens, was opened in 1929. The first specimens were brought to our country in 1925 to be distributed as breeding stallions throughout the so-called Barsa Land and the Baragan region, in order to improve the local horse breeds. During the 40s they established a base in Jegalia in order to supply the army with the necessary heavy draft horses. Nowadays in our country, this variation is being bred at the Izvin Stud, in Timis County. Here they breed purebred specimens, in a structured manner base on lineage and families. The biological material available at Izvin matches the morphological characteristics of the race, its reproduction and viability indicators being similar to those in the country of origin.
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Physical Aspect and Measures
The specimens in this breed are characterized by a medium to heavy build, with a waist line of 152-162 cm and a weight of 700-1000 kg. In terms of overall aspect, it can be described as short and sturdy. In terms of color, the Ardennes may be palomino, bay, chestnut, grey, roan. Black is not a desirable color for this breed.
The head is large, with robust cheeks, a straight profile, a wide, low forehead, bright eyes, short, pointy ears and large nostrils. The neck is muscular, short, thick and well-attached to the body. The wither is not very well-defined, but it is muscular. Short, straight and muscular back and quarters; the croup is square and double. The chest is wide, strong; the shoulders are muscular and short. The legs are short, sturdy, muscular, well-defined, the hocks are large, defined, the hooves are large. In the fetlock area, the breed features excessive hair which forms streamers.
The Ardennes is a heavy breed which, due to its Arabian influences, is more energetic than its name and its heavy draft aspect may suggest. It is a laborer, a small one, but its endurance is surprising, even in the harshest of conditions. The Ardennes is very calm, docile, obedient, with a high degree of endurance, bot physically and mentally. It is very easy to handle and feed, being thus very economical.
In the past 50 years, this breed has contributed to the development of the Romanian Semigreu breed, as well as to the improvement of local draft breeds.