Italian Heavy Draft Horses
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Italian Heavy Draft, also known as Rapid Heavy Draft, horsernwere developed in the 19th and 20th centuries using both draft and light horsernbreeds, and are used mainly for heavy draft work and meat.rnrn rnrn 

rnrnItalian Heavy Draft were developed starting in 1860 at thernDeposito Cavalli Stalloni stud in Ferrara, Italy. They were developed fromrncrossing native Po Delta stallions with Thoroughbred, Hackney, and Arabianrnhorses. Around 1900, weight was added to the breed with the addition ofrnBoulonnais, Ardennes, and Norfolk-Breton blood. The breeding programs sufferedrnduring World War II, but a careful crossbreeding program with Ardennes,rnPercheron and Breton horses after the war brought the Italian Heavy Draft tornits current state. The studbook for the breed was begun in 1926.rnrn 

rnrnThe main breeding areas for the Italian Heavy Draft are inrnthe plains and hills around Verona, Padova, Vicenza, Venice, Treviso and Udine.rnBreed numbers have been decreasing over the past two decades, with less thanrn4,000 breeding stock registered in 2002.rnrn rnrn 

rnrnItalian Heavy Draft horses generally stand between 14.2 torn15.3 hands high, and weights between 1,320 and 1,540 lbs. They may be chestnutrn(usually with flaxen mane and tail), red roan, or bay. Their head is light forrna draft breed, with a straight or slightly convex profile, and are set on arnshort, broad, and muscular neck. Their withers are fairly pronounced andrnmuscular, their chest is broad and deep, and their shoulders slope. Their backrnis straight and short, their flanks are short and rounded, with a slopingrncroup. Their legs are short, with broad joints and smallish, thoughrnwell-formed, hooves.

rnrnThey strongly resembles the Breton draft, and also somewhatrnthe Avelignese. There has been some deterioration in conformation in recentrnyears as breeders have focused on producing maximum body mass and weight forrnthe meat industry.rnrn 

rnrnThey are an important breed for Italian farmers because theyrnare large, docile, strong, and fast. They were originally bred specifically forrnagricultural and draft uses, and were also used to transport artillery by thernItalian military. Today, they are most widely used in the meat industry.

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