Belgian Horse Breed: History, Care & Cost

Belgian horse picture

The Belgian draft horse is one of the oldest and most revered breeds in Europe. It has been around for centuries, with records of its use going back as far as 1494. Known for its strength, loyalty and intelligence, it is a breed that can be used for many different tasks, from farming to pleasure riding.

History of Origin

The Belgian draft horse originated in what is now the Flemish region of Belgium. The breed was developed from several different breeds, including the Ardennes and Brabant draft breeds. These animals were used for centuries by farmers throughout Europe to pull carts, plow fields and carry heavy loads. In the late 19th century, the Belgian draft was introduced to the United States, where they were used by both farmers and in show events.

General Characteristics

The Belgian is a large, powerful horse. They have strong feet and legs, a short back and a muscular neck. The head is broad with a straight or slightly convex profile, while the eyes are generally large and expressive. Most Belgian horses have bay coats, although some come in black or even roan.

Belgian Horse size

The Belgian draft horse is the tallest of all draft breeds, standing between 16 and 17 hands (64 to 68 inches). They typically weigh between 1,800 and 2,200 lbs (820 to 1,000 kg).

The lifespan of Belgian horse

The Belgian horse is a hardy breed that can live up to 25 years, although most are found between 15 and 20 years. The average life expectancy of a well-kept Belgian Horse can be expected to exceed 20 years.

What is the Belgian horse used for?

The Belgian breed originates from the Brabant region of Belgium, which is known for its large draft horses. These horses were used for farm work and transportation as early as the Middle Ages, but their true development began in 1891 when legislation was passed regulating the size and conformation of these animals. Due to their size and strength, Belgians were used extensively in World War I, and they are still used today as show horses, pleasure-riding mounts, and working animals.

Colors of Belgian horses

Belgian horses come in a variety of colors, including chestnut, bay, roan, and gray. They also can be marked with white stockings and blazes.

The temperament of the Belgian horse

Belgian horses are known for their even temperaments, and they make great mounts for both experienced and novice riders. They are willing to learn and can be easily trained.

Belgian Horse Price

The price of purchasing a Belgian horse varies greatly depending on the age, bloodlines, quality and training. Generally speaking, mature horses may cost around $5,000 – 15,000 USD or more. If you are considering buying a Belgian horse, it is important to factor in the additional costs associated with owning such a large animal, including veterinary care, feed and boarding. You should also take into account the time and dedication necessary to properly train and care for a horse of this size.

Regular Monthly Belgian Horse Expenses

It is essential to consider the cost of ownership when researching Belgian horses. The monthly expenses associated with caring for a Belgian horse can include:

  • Veterinary fees – can range from routine checkups to illness or injury treatment. A regular annual veterinary visit may cost around $200-$400 USD, but more extensive treatments could cost significantly more depending on the diagnosis and care required.
  • Feed expenses – In general, a Belgian horse will require at least one bale of hay per week, as well as oats and supplements. This can add up to an average monthly cost of around $200-350 USD, depending on the quality of feed purchased. 
  • Farrier fees – The majority of Belgian horses will need their hooves attended to by a farrier at least every 6 weeks. The fee for this is usually between $50-$75 USD per visit.
  • Boarding – Depending on the area, boarding a Belgian horse can range anywhere from $150-$1000 USD per month. This cost includes hay, oats and other feed as well as access to basic facilities such as an outdoor arena or riding trails.
  • Training – Training for a Belgian horse can range from basic to advanced and will usually cost around $50-$80 USD per hour. Training can be carried out by a private instructor, or at a nearby stable with professional trainers.
  • Insurance – Most owners will want to purchase insurance for their Belgian horse in case of injury or illness. Insurance policies can vary greatly in terms of coverage and cost but can range from $100-$500 USD per year.

Faq About Belgian Horse

How strong is a Belgian horse?

Belgian horses are some of the strongest draft horses, weighing up to 2,000 pounds and capable of pulling three times their own weight. These remarkable animals have been used for centuries to perform labor-intensive tasks such as tilling fields and hauling heavy loads over long distances.

What makes Belgian unique?

Belgians are one of the most popular breeds of draft horses due to their versatility and strength. These horses excel at a variety of activities, including pulling carriages, plowing fields, and competing in competition events such as dressage and show jumping. They are also highly intelligent animals that are eager to please, making them a favorite.

What is a Belgian horse called?

Belgian draft horses are known by many different names, including the Belgian Heavy Draft Horse, Bruinbeis (“Brown Bear”), and Cheval de Boulonnais. They are also commonly referred to as Brabant Horses in Europe.

How fast can a Belgian horse run? 

Belgian draft horses are not built for speed, as their large muscular build makes them more suitable for pulling heavy loads. However, they are capable of reaching speeds up to 25mph and can cover distances of over 5 miles in a single outing.

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