8 Belgian Horse Breeds (with Pictures)


Last Updated: April 5, 2021

Horses were absolute necessities in so many countries across the world. They once provided extreme benefit to townspeople and farmers. Once industrialization took over, horses became stars in competitions and races, showing off their strength and endurance capabilities. They were also explicitly bred to thrive at specific tasks.

Belgium was home to so many extraordinary equines—some of which are still popular today. So, which one of your hooved friends hail from Belgium? Here is a list of eight of the most remarkable breeds we could find.

1. Ardennais

Ardennais horse
Image Credit: Jacob Rask, Wikimedia Commons

The Ardennais, or Ardennes, originates in Belgium—taking the first slot on the list.

History

The Ardennais is one of the oldest draft horses in the world. It is best known for its ability to hold extremely large loads for long amounts of time.

Behavior & Temperament

The Ardennais is a calm, work-minded horse that is easy to both train and ride. They are definitely keeping up the pace. They tend to be very amiable and friendly with people as well, making them easier to handle.

Physical Traits

As adults, the Ardennais can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, measuring roughly 16 hands high. They can come in colors of bay, gray, and brown.

Training

Since these horses have hard labor so harshly ingrained in their DNA, getting them to learn to work will not be a problem at all. In fact, they seem to do much better when they have a job to do.

Diet

Because of the Ardennais’ extreme muscle mass, they need a diet to replenish their body. They will need lots of fresh hay, commercial grain, and fresh grasses to stay healthy.

Health

Since this horse has feathered feet, it is easy for them to get bacteria trapped inside. This can cause an infection of their skin in these areas. It’s best to keep the area as well-groomed and dry.


2. Belgian Trotter

The Belgian Trotter is an excellent horse for saddled races.

History

The Belgian Trotter was initially crossed between thoroughbreds and carriage horses. They actually have a nickname for this cross, which can is Halfbloeddraver, meaning “half-blood trotter.”

Behavior & Temperament

These horses are known to be receptive and alert. They have mild temperaments and steady actions.

Physical Traits

Combine in the elegance of the draft and trotter horses, you have a muscular horse who is capable with an elegant gait. They can come in bay, chestnut, roan, and sorrel.

Training

The Belgian Trotter is incredibly adaptable and easy to train. They work for various tasks, combining the positives of the draft and trotting horses to create a perfect combo.

Diet

These horses require a balanced combination of hay, grain, and grasses.

Health

There are no health issues specific to the breed to mention.


3. Belgian Riding Pony

The Belgian Riding Pony is one of the leading dressage ponies of Europe.

History

These ponies might have had their beginning in Belgium, but that’s not where they left off. You can find these equines all over the world, particularly in the United States and Europe.

Behavior & Temperament

Having the classic pony attitude, the Belgian Riding Pony is spirited—but tons of fun. They might give you a run for your money sometimes, especially if they are in a mood. But they are still lovable, interesting little ponies that are ever-popular.

Training

Belgian Riding Ponies can be a bit hard-headed from time to time, but they train well. Used commonly in dressage, these horses run the show.

Physical Traits

These horses are agile and athletic with lean muscle tone and an attractive gait. They can be chestnut, sorrel, brown, black—and rarely white.

Diet

Belgian Riding Ponies need lots of commercial feed and hay every day. While they benefit from grazing, it might not be an option for some. If they are stalled most of the time, make sure they have an adequate balance of nutrients.

Health

These little ponies are generally healthy and problem-free.


4. Belgian Sport Horse

Belgian Sport Horse
Image Credit: Fernando Frazão, Wikimedia Commons

The Belgian Sport Horse is a physically impressive specimen.

History

The Belgian Sport Horse had its beginning as the cross of thoroughbreds and local horses. The intention of the breed initially was for cavalry use. Because of their prize-winning competitive attitudes, they ended up doing well in the show ringmasters of competitions and events.

Behavior & Temperament

Belgian Sport Horses are highly attentive and focused. They have a real knack for direction, making them excellent at picking up new concepts. Their serious look might fool you, as these horses are very gentle and easy-going.

Physical Traits

These horses have an incredibly defined athletic build and are graceful on their feet. This sleek beauty comes in chestnut, bay, brown, black, gray, and occasionally pinto.

Training

Because of their natural desire to learn and develop both physically and mentally, they train well.

Diet

Your Belgian Sport Horse needs a perfect balance of proteins, carbs, and fats to keep muscles healthy. They need an abundance of fresh hay, too.

Health

These gorgeous beauties are usually very healthy and sound.


5. Belgian Draught

Belgian Draught
Image Credit: Vkarel, Wikimedia Commons

The classic Belgian Draught is quite the gentle giant.

History

Originally known as the Barbart, the Belgian Draught horse is a sight to behold. Raw horsepower, this is one of the strongest equines of all. Traces of their lineage date all the way back to the Middle Ages.

Behavior & Temperament

These horses are steadfast, loyal, and calm. They are slow-paced but sturdy and reliable.

Physical Traits

These beefy, impressive specimens are stout and powerful. These brutes stand over 17 hands high and can weigh over 2,000 as adults.

  • Fun Fact: The largest horse of all, Brooklyn “Brookie” Supreme, was a Belgian Draught that weighed over 3,200 pounds!

Training

Because of the physical possibilities and the Belgian Draught’s demeanor, they make excellent leisure riders or show horses. Of course, they are always down to work hard, too. Over time, they really expanded on their versatility.

Diet

As you might guess, these boys can eat a lot. They need to graze through fresh grasses, shrubs, and flowers, too.

Health

The Belgian Draught can run into several issues that big draft horses encounter. You can find a complete list of possibilities here.


6. Belgian Warmblood

Belgian Warmblood
Image Credit: Eponimm, Wikimedia Commons

The Belgian Warmblood is a world-class jumper.

History

There was some serious selective breeding going on when we created the Belgian Warmblood. Combining capable, quick-thinking horses like Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and Anglo-Arabs, this breed is the perfect specimen for events and shows today.

Behavior & Temperament

These horses are incredibly agreeable, although they can have quite feisty personalities. Belgian Warmbloods are high energy, so they can be a little more vigorous than some breeds. Owners claim they are easy to work with and learn well.

Physical Traits

The Belgian Warmblood is an excellent mixture of brute strength and skill. They have great physical strength and endurance. They are quite tall, measuring up to 17 hands high. They can be several colors, including brown, chestnut, bay, pinto, and tobiano.

Training

These horses were built for tasks and training. They are absolutely receptive to training involving jumping, riding, and show. They might be arguably the best jumping horse in existence.

Diet

To keep the Belgian Warmblood’s lean muscle mass, they need a particular diet for their build and weight. Make sure to give them commercial feed and lots of hay. They will need a full supply of fresh, clean water at all times.

Health

There are no breed-specific health issues to note.


7. Flemish Horse

The Flemish Horse is a notable part of Belgian history.

History

The Flemish Horse has a sad story. These horses sadly reached extinction in the 1900s. Many breeders merged the Flemish Horse with others, creating what is known today as the Belgian Draught.

Influences of its breed still appear in horses today.

Behavior & Temperament

The Flemish Horse was said to be agreeable and steady. Workaholics by nature, these horses would proudly assist you with tasks with little complaint.

Physical Traits

These horses were incredibly well-built and robust. Being draft horses, they were muscular powerhouses that toiled away in the fields. Like most draft horses, they could get over 2,200 pounds.

Training

Flemish Horses had an incredible work ethic, which made them admirable candidates in breed creation. They had many valuable traits that helped them thrive, being very trainable and skilled.

Diet

These horses spent most of their time grazing fields for fresh foliage.

Health

This breed could have encountered any of the issues of draft breed horses. You can read more about that here.


8. Zangersheide

The Zangersheide is a horse of impressive looks and function.

History

One of three Belgian Warmbloods, this horse has come very far, fulfilling its initial intended purpose. They were intentionally bred in the 1970s to create the perfect show horse—mission accomplished. They are highly revered in the show ring for performance and appearance.

Behavior & Temperament

Those who work with Zangersheides would call them gentle, agreeable, and tolerant. These qualities make them even more valuable in addition to their other talents.

Physical Traits

The warmblooded Zangersheide has a sleek, athletic build that is agile and quick. They are tall, standing between 16 and 17 hands high. They come in colors of chestnut, bay, gray, and black.

Training

Specifically, in show jumping, these remarkable creatures rank high. However, they also make terrific leisurely riders for those who just want to saddle up for a stroll.

Diet

The Zangersheide needs a proper balance of nutrients and might require mineral supplements. If they can’t graze, they need plenty of fresh feed, water, and hay.

Health

These horses have no major health concerns to speak of.

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Belgian Horses: Final Thoughts

Belgium has definitely lent its hand to produce some of the most impressive specimens in the equine world. From the show ring to the fields, these horses are ideal for their roles—mastering over others in their class.

It’s incredible to see just how far the breeds have transformed, creating some of the most sought-after equines in the world. Which did you find the most appealing?


Featured Image: Richard, Wikimedia Commons





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