You may have never heard of the Ardennes horse breed, but once you know about them, you will be enthralled with not only their appearance, but their peaceful personality and lengthy history as well.
The breed we have decided to show you today is not very popular in America but it is widely known and developed in Europe since the Ardennes horse is an early breed of European draft horse. Although some may consider them typical draft horses they have some peculiar features who makes them different from any other massive horses of its kind. It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and they have stolen our hearts with their large muscled bodies, exceptional strength and kind attitude. The Ardennes is an all-time favorite breed for all the lucky people who have the chance to own one. Below we have compiled a list with some of the most interesting facts regarding Ardennes horse.
1- Ardennes are recognized as one of the oldest draft breeds in the world
The first Ardennes were introduced to the United States in the early 20th century, but it is still not identified accurately when. First, when sent to the United States, Ardennes horses were available for registration with the now-defunct National French Draft Horse Association of America or French Draft Horse Society. The Ardennes horses have developed 2,000 years ago in the Ardennes hill near the border of Belgium and France. Many historians believe that the Ardennes horse is a descendant of the now-extinct Solutré horse. The ancient horses were part of some of history’s most prominent events, and their development has only brought particular distinctions in the modern Ardennes horses.
2- They were the favored mounts for knights and soldiers
Not many horse breeds could bear the mass of a knight in full armor, but the Ardennes proved they could. Their amicable characters made them simple to train in wartime conditions, and they were crucial for large armies lacking to transport armored soldiers and heavy equipment. History has proved that the Ardennes horse was often utilized by knights going off to fight in the Middle Ages. These knights mentioned on the breed’s durability linked with its powerful agility and capability to travel long distances in extreme conditions. Their popularity grew, and the horses were frequently used on the battlefield.
3- Napoleon shaped how the Ardennes horses are today
The ancestors of today’s Ardennes horses weren’t very different from how they look now, but during the Roman era, these draft horses had a major change: they were shorter. They didn’t have nor the strength nor endurance of other heavy horses and Napoleon decided to change them, through selective breeding, by adding Arabian blood to the mix. This component proved to be very successful because the Ardennes horse really got taller. But not only that, their endurance was increased as well. Despite this fact, they are not reckoned amongst the tall horses because they are only 15-16 hands high, but the added height seems to have made a distinction in the horse’s already remarkable strength. Napoleon preferred Ardennes horses throughout his Russian campaign when other horse breeds couldn’t handle in the hard conditions and under massive loads.
4- They’re very easy to keep
Due to their enormous size and work ethic, most draft horses have a fame for being hard to keep. They need large quantities of food to keep them in good health, and their nutrition should be loaded in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Ardennes horses, however, are usually considered to be easy keepers. They develop quicker than other horse breeds, and despite their size, you don’t need a big fund to keep your Ardennes well fed. They were always fed stored forage like alfalfa, and it’s best suggested to give them a protein complement if they’re working regularly. Ardennes horses are usually a pretty low maintenance horse and only need to be feed on a regular basis and exercise every day. These are sufficient to maintain this mannered horse that always has a willingness to work.
5- The Ardennes horse is recognized as one of the most well-behaved horse breeds
A huge sized horse may be frightening for all the horse owners but these large horses wouldn’t hurt a fly. They’re the real meaning of “gentle giants.” Most people describe them as being kind, tolerant, and almost always patient. Measuring among 1,500 and 2,200 pounds, a full-grown Ardennes horse is enormous even for draft horse standards. Having a horse of such a big size rushing toward you is intimidating but for everyone who would like to buy an Ardennes horse, we guarantee you there is nothing to worry about. They’re so tender, they’re estimated to be great mounts for children and beginner riders.