The rise and fall of the Belgian draft horse


We do not tend to think of horse breeds as being created for industrialization. Yet, early on in the Industrial Age, back before the automobile ruled the roads, horses were required to move the machines and manufactured goods made by the machines. Now, Belgian draft horses and other large breeds are beloved due to their size …and the growing size of the human populace! ~ HfH

From: Discovering Belgium

These days, the tiny village of Vollezele, which lies equidistant between Halle and Gerardsbergen, is so small it’s hardly noticeable. It’s therefore difficult to imagine that from the 1880s until the 1930s Vollezele was not only bustling with activity but was indispensable to the nation’s economic success.

The origins of this remarkable story can be traced back to the 1850s, and one man’s vision. Realising that the industrialisation of Europe would require stronger horses to pull increasingly heavier machinery, horse-breeder Remi Vander Schueren started to interbreed the three types of draft horse existing in Belgium. The result was a single breed, which he named the Belgian draft horse.

His work soon paid dividends with the arrival of the magnificent stallion named Brillant. Between 1878 and 1884, Brillant was crowned champion at major draft horse competitions in Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Paris and Hanover.

Below is Brillant in bronze.

POST DATE: 01/12/2015