Also Known By: Cheval de Trait Ardennais or Ardennais (French), Belgian Ardennes
The Ardennes is thought to be descended from a heavy draft horse praised by Julius Caesar in De Bello Gallico. Ancestors to the breed are thought to have been bred on the Ardennes plateau for 2,000 years. The breed was valued by Napoleon for its endurance. The Ardennes is among the oldest of the European heavy draft breeds. During the eighteenth century, Arabian breeding was introduced into the breed and more recently Belgian Draft blood was used to increase size and strength of the animals.
The Ardennes is a lighter, mountain bred, version of the Belgian Draft horse. It was used in creating the Baltic Ardennes, Russian Heavy Draft and Swedish Ardennes. They may be bay, roan, chestnut, gray or palomino. Black is excluded from registration and is very rare.
These animals have been praised for their calm, tolerant disposition and their ability to work in hilly and rough terrain. It is also said that, for its size, it is an economical animal to feed.
Hendricks, Bonnie L., International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, Univ of Oklahoma Press, 1995.
Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.