Italian Heavy Draft Horse
Also called the Italian Working Horse, the Rapid Heavy Draft & the Cavallo Agricolo Italiano da Tiro Pesante Rapido, the Italian Heavy Draft is a man made breed created to fulfill both needs of war and agricultural demands.
The breed dates back to 1860 when the horse production branch of the Department of War began crossbreeding Breton stallions to mares of the northeastern Italian plains. The mares were of varied stock and included Hackney, Belgian Draft & Breton origin. Through continuous cross breeding of those same lines the Italian Heavy Draft came about with their own distinguishing characteristics.
In 1926 a stud book was formed and until the mid-20th century the Italian Draft was a popular breed as they were not just powerful, but fast as well. Towards the end of the 20th century the need for a heavy draft had all but died out and their numbers declined sharply.
In the 1970’s a program was put into place to improve the breed for meat production which is what they are primarily raised for today.
Average height 15 – 16 hands
Head is long but shapely with a straight or slightly convex profile
Eyes are large & lively
Ears are small
Neck is short & muscular
Back is short & straight
Chest is broad, muscular & deep
Shoulder is long & well sloped
Legs are short with broad, strong joints & some feathering
Feet are straight & boxy
Amiable & easy to work with
Creation of heavy draft mules
Improving meat production value in other breeds