The Russian Draft Horse came to existence through constant selectiveness from the best climatically adjusted Ardennian horses and also their crossbreeds with the Percherons stallions and partially even trotters.
The import of the Ardennian started around the year 1900 and formed about 35% of all the imported coldblooded breeds. The Ardennian horses were favored for their smaller size and the easy keeping/undemanding qualities in comparison with the rest of the coldblooded imports.
Their crossbreeds did not grow to too large frames, but were very strong in the draft but could also trot. In the creation of the breed was also used inbreeding technique with the most proven stallions, especially form the Cesmensk and the Dubrov stud farms.
The Russian Draft has all the characteristics of a coldblooded horse, but is of smaller size and of dry constitution. The main characteristic of this horse is smaller height, but the horses are massive, deep, on shorter legs sufficiently dry and relatively correct, medium wide head, straight or slightly “dished” face profile, shorter, wider neck, wide and muscular withers, long, often soft back and wide and steep hind quarters. The hind legs are either sickle hock or open hock. The color is mostly chestnut of various shades, and less cases of bay. The sizes of stallions are: Height 147 cm, chest circumference 183 cm, shin circumference 21.5 cm and weight 550 kg. The mares’ measurements are: 145, 184, 20.6 cm and weight 500 kg.
The horse is bred in three types:
The Novoalexandrov type, which is smaller, harmonious, able in draft as well as in trot. The founder of the main lineage was Karaul. Later on the most bred was the Lamtik lineage.
The Ural type was established under harsh climatic conditions, but by good feeding program. He is therefore bigger, with well and high set neck, good back and stronger skeleton.
The heavy type, established in better conditions of feeding and breeding in the Ural stud farm, is taller with good back and strong skeleton. The reproductive ability of the mares is height at 90%.
The establishment of this breed is credited to the Ural and the Kuelinsk stud farms with their excellent breeding technique, systematic training and mainly with good feeding program. The two-year-olds trot with the load of 500 kg over a 2000 m track in 5 min. The Russian Draft Horse is used for improvement of other domestic coldblooded breeds in Russia.