Draft Horse Temperament And Characteristics Explained!

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Last Updated on October 1, 2022

Of all horse breeds, the draft horse temperament is highly sought after for many reasons. These gentle giants tend to be calm and sensible, and the good-natured draft horse temperament has been used to influence many other horse breeds. Let’s find out everything you need to know about the draft horse temperament and characteristics!

What Is A Draft Horse?

The term draft or draught horse is used to refer to a large, heavy breed of horse. These horse breeds are all classed as cold-blooded, meaning that they are able to survive in harsh conditions with minimal food. Some good examples of draft horse breeds are the Shire horse, Belgium Draught, and Percheron.

There are many different draft horse breeds originating from all around the world. Most European countries each have their own draft horse breed, with some, such as the UK, having more than one. Each breed has its own distinctive traits and characteristics, but they all have some features in common.

What Is A Draft Horse

Draft horse breeds are all large, numbering among some of the biggest horses in the world population. They are not particularly athletic or nimble but have heavily muscled strong bodies. These heavyweights were designed to work hard for long hours at a steady pace.

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What Are Draft Horses Used For?

Draft horse breeds have a long and interesting history. Most draft horses originally started out as being bred as war horses, and the sight of these huge horses running into battle must have been incredibly intimidating! They were also strong enough to haul heavy armory into battle and carry a rider wearing full armor.

However, the strength of these draft horses was quickly recognized and they soon became popular for many other uses. Draft horses are immensely strong and very steady, making them perfect for carrying out long days of heavy work.

So, instead of being used for going into battle, draft horses were brought into work in many different industries. Farmers used draft horses for plowing heavy land, and a team of draft horses could make light work of hauling heavy timber through rough forest tracks. They were also incredibly popular for hauling heavy loads as part of the transportation industry.

Since the advent of mechanization, draft horses are no longer required to carry out these different roles. Initially, this led to a steep decline in their population, but thanks to the work of many different breed societies, draft horses are still prevalent around the world.

The modern-day draft horse is less likely to be required to carry out a long day’s work, although some are still used in the forestry industry. You are more likely to find a draft horse that is kept as a family pet or used for showing or public displays. One of the most famous teams of draft horses is the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, which appear in public exhibitions and advertisements.

Read more about Draft Horse Height – Breed Comparison

Draft Horse Temperament And Characteristics

It’s no secret that draft horses are capable of carrying out many hours of hard work. However, the other reason they became popular as farm horses is because of their calm temperament and good nature. These gentle giants are equally as capable of taking the family to town in a wagon as they are at pulling a plow for many hours.

It is very rare to see a draft horse getting overexcited and they tend to settle in easily into new environments. They tend to get on well with other horses and are easy for novice riders to handle. Unlike hot-blooded breeds such as Thoroughbreds and Arabians, draft horses rarely get spooked by anything.

Draft Horses: An Owner’s Manual

Draft horses may be strong, but they are not particularly agile. They can be ridden, but tend to be slow and steady so are better suited to novice riders. They have limited jumping ability but can plod along a trail for many hours.

These gentle giants may be calm and easy to handle, but, like any horse, they can be unpredictable. The huge size and body mass mean they could cause serious injuries to a human if they accidentally knocked them over, kicked them, or trod on them. It is important not to underestimate the power of these horses and they should always be handled with caution and respect.

Check Out How Much Weight Can A Draft Horse Carry?


So, as we have learned, the calm and good-natured draft horse temperament makes them amongst the most placid and gentle horse breeds in the world. Draft horses were first bred many centuries ago for use in farm work and hauling heavy loads, as well as carrying riders and armory into battle. Modern-day draft horses are more likely to be kept as pets or for use as show or public display animals.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about the draft horse temperament and characteristics! Are you a big fan of these gentle horse breeds, or do you prefer something with a bit more spirit? Perhaps you are considering breeding your mare with a draught horse, but can’t decide which breed to pick? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!


Are draft horses friendly?

Generally speaking, draft horses are very friendly and good-natured. These horses are calm and placid and enjoy the company of humans. However, any horse can be unpredictable, and their large size means that draft horses may not always be perfectly safe to be around.

Are draft horses good for beginners?

Their calm temperament and good nature makes draft horses a common choice for beginner riders. However, draft horses are normally very large and are only suitable for adults and not children. Draft horses also tend to be very slow and steady, so some beginner riders may struggle to get them going.

Which draft horse has the best temperament?

Most draft horse breeds have a great temperament, although some are friendlier than others. The Belgian Draught horse is very popular for its quirky and friendly fun-loving nature.

What is the calmest draft horse?

Most draft horse breeds are very calm as they were bred for slow and steady farm work. One of the calmest is the beautiful Shire horse, which originates from the United Kingdom. This gentle giant is adored by fans for its calm, dependable nature.

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