Rural Heritage Horse Paddock

Suffolk Draft Horses


Suffolks are the only draft breed originally developed exclusively as a plow horse. Also known as the Suffolk Punch, this breed has a rich history of draft use going back to 1506. Isolated from their neighbors, the farmers of England's Norfolk and Suffolk counties needed a draft breed to plow the heavy native clay soil, so they developed a docile agricultural horse with power, stamina, health and longevity. The farmers needed their horses to till and harvest their own lands, so horses were seldom sold. The Suffolk has therefore remained relatively unknown, and also pure and true to its original type and purpose of agricultural work.

A stout rounded appearance is what puts the "punch" into the Suffolk Punch. The breed's short, strong conformation gives it the power that makes it well suited for agriculture. Lack of feathering allows Suffolks to work efficiently in heavy or wet ground. Short cannon bones and muscular shoulders and forearms give them excellent "pull" and efficient leverage for their size, as well as bringing them closer to the ground and making them easier to harness, groom, and trailer than the taller draft breeds. One of the least numerous draft breeds in the United States, Suffolks are listed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy under the status "rare."

color— chestnut (7 shades)
average mature weight— 1,600 pounds
average mature height— 16.1 - 17 hands
temperament— willing, energetic yet docile
uses— heavy draft
associations— Suffolk Horse Society (UK)
American Suffolk Horse Association
web resources— American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
International Museum of the Horse
Oklahoma State University

Return to: What is a Draft Horse?

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8 June 2011