Horse Breed Facts Rhineland Heavy Draft

–          History of the Rhineland Heavy Draft Horse

Once the most common horses in Germany, the Rhineland heavy draft horse is now rare with roughly 2000 remaining worldwide. It was bred mainly from the Belgian Draft horse, yet has traits of the following breeds; Clydesdale, Percheron, Boulonnais and Ardennes.

The Rhineland was developed in the late half of the 19th century as an efficient and powerful draft horse to be used for farm work. One of the most prevalent places where this breed was developed was the Wickrath regional stud in Rhineland Germany. By the beginning of the 20th century this breed was the most common type in Germany. Unfortunately for this breed, as mechanization of the farming industry took off and farmers started buying gas and diesel powered tractors, the demand for a powerful draft horse has waned.  

The Rhineland heavy draft is known by many names, some of these include Niedersachsen Heavy Draft, Rheinish-Belgian, Rheinish-Westphalian, German Coldblood, Rhenish-Belgian, Rhenisch-Deutsches Kaltblut, and Rhenish-German.

–          Physique, Coloring, Height and Temperament

The Rhineland is a heavy, powerful, short, bulky horse breed, standing around 16-17 hands high and weighing roughly 2200 pounds. The coloring of this majestic breeds coat varies from chestnut to bay or even red roan, its mane can be blonde or black. With its brawny neck, power jaw and muscular shoulders and hindquarters it exudes pure power even at first glance. Yet it has a calm, quiet and good natured personality. This breed is very energetic and well suited to work on a farm as a draft horse.

–          Rhinelander, the Riding Breed Offshoot of the Rhineland Heavy Draft

In the 1970s, breeders were developing a new breed of warm blooded riding horse based on the old coldblooded breed of draft horse (Rhineland Heavy Draft), the new breed was named Rhinelander. There was a market for a distinct breed of leisure riding horse. Per the website, “Stallions from the Hanover-Westphalia area were used on warmblood mares sired by Thorougbreds, Trakehners and Hanoverians, out of dams claiming a relationship with the old Rhenish breed. From this mix of bloods, half-bred stallions were selected from which the modern Rhinelander has been developed.”

This breed in the beginning had some issues with bone density, but this problem has sense been addressed. The average height of this breed is 16.2 hands high, mostly chestnut colored, with a great and equable personality.

–          Today

Unfortunately the Rhineland Heavy Draft horse is one of the rarest breeds of horse on the planet. This breed had short lived success at the turn of the 20th century and has fallen hard from grace due to the modernization of the farming industry. There is a desperate need for this horse breed to be revived.