Estonian Draft Horses
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About Estonian Draft HorsesAbout Estonian Draft Horses



Estonian Draft or Eston-Arden (Estonian: Eesti raskeveohobune) were developed from a cross of Swedish Ardennes stallions to create a draft horse that was an easy keeper that was powerful yet fast.

A stud book was established in 1921, and the breed was officially recognized by the Estonian government in 1953. At the same time the Estonian Draft was developed, the Lithuanian Heavy Draft and the Soviet Heavy Draft also came into being in order to serve a demand for heavy draft horses in the Soviet Union. As of 1994, there were approximately 400 Estonian Drafts in existence, including about 15 breeding stallions and 120 breeding mares. At that time, population numbers were reported to be decreasing. Another type developed in the 1990s for use as a harness horse. Although there were originally eight main blood lines, by 2004 the breed had been reduced to four stallion lines, and only 14 purebred foals were born.  
Estonian Drafts are generally bay or chestnut in color. Through selective breeding, they have become well adapted to the soil in northern Estonia.

Population numbers have decreased since the early 1990s and today inbreeding is of significant concern and they are considered to be endangered by the Estonian government. Although originally used for heavy draft work, they are now used mainly for small-scale gardening.

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