I’m pretty sure that every time draft horses are mentioned, we immediately think about Belgian or Clydesdale horses because they the most popular draft horses in the world. But there are also other draft horses who are just as good as them. One of them is also the Suffolk Punch, a beautiful draft horse that began over two centuries ago in the eastern provinces of England.
First and continuously developed for work, power, and enthusiasm, their kind nature and powerful structure make them an excellent horse for ranch work. What makes the Suffolk Punch even more interesting is the fact that they are actually the smallest draft horses in the world. Their nature allows effortless handling and their power puts them among some of the most robust horses around. The Suffolk Punch is the most ancient original horse breed of Britain and despite all these qualities this horse is still considered to be the least popular European breed of America.
For many decades, these noble horses have cultivated the greens of England, and have instantly been linked with England’s civilization and culture. Sadly, the existing population of this important breed is at risk, because their numbers are only decreasing and the UK’s Rare Breeds Survival Trust has even categorized them as being ‘in danger’. Below we are going to show you everything you need to know about these horses. Keep reading!
1- The smallest draft horses in the world
Even though these horses are very strong, the Suffolk Punch is the smallest horse in the draft community. Usually, draft horses are over 17 hands, whilst the Suffolk Punch horses are usually just 15.2 to 16.2 hands tall (even though some of them can stand 17 hands).
2-Their coat color is usually chestnut
Suffolk Punch horses usually come in chestnut color, varying in shade from bright golden to the deep liver. White markings may transpire, but in general, they are not as noticeable as in other horses and if a Suffolk Punch horse, most of them being limited only to a star or snip and white joints or fetlocks. No other color is allowed or is relevant to be registered in the Stud Book. The excellence of the Suffolk is best described by the famous writer, Marguerite Henry, when she stated: “His color is bright chestnut–like a tongue of fire against black field furrows, against green corn blades, against yellow wheat, against blue horizons. Never is he any other color.”
3- The Suffolk Punch is one of the purest draft horses in the world
As their name indicates, the Suffolk Punch began in Suffolk, England, from that same ancient “great horse” heredity that is the root of all other drafts breeds. This old breed, though, is the purest draft horse and has had the most limited volume of crossing with other drafts horses. In fact, they are deemed to be one of the earliest draft horse breeds, and their foundation sire named Crisp’s Horse of Ufford was foaled in 1768. Usually, the other draft horses were bred by lords and soldiers as they wanted to create the best warhorse around but that’s not what happened with the Suffolk Punch horse. They were actually produced by farmers seeking their own heavy horse; humble yet powerful and adapted to tilling fields and drawing carriages more than helping as troops.
4-They were bred solely for farm work
What makes the Suffolk horse so unique, is the fact that they are the only draft breed who has never bred for any other purpose than farm work. Even though during the world war II they did pull some huge munitions, they usually stayed out of battles. As a consequence, the breed holds features connected to this industry, such as the energy and strength to farm through heavy mud, hardiness, a reliable disposition, and easy to maintain characteristics.
5- They are excellent horses for beginners
Besides being excellent farm horses Suffolks are also exceptional riding horses, particularly for people who have never ridden a horse before. The most difficult part of riding a Suffolk Punch horse, in fact, is getting one’s legs throughout their broad, large bodies! After that, they are very bombproof and calm pleasure horses. They don’t normally spook and are quite trainable and reserved, making them a great option for new riders.
6- Suffolk Punches have an easy-going temperament
Just like all the other draft horses, the Suffolk Punch is also very even-tempered and carefree. They are always ready to work; firm and famous for their amazing durability. They also have an urge to satisfy their owners.