In the early development of the United States, the west was being settled, its cities were growing, and there echoed the same cry for bigger, stronger horses. To meet this need, during the 1880’s, in Le Perche France, a superior draft horse was discovered, the Percheron. Of this breed and during this decade, American trade merchants imported 5,000 stallions and 2,500 mares.
These gentle giants found use behind plows on homesteads, in pulling ore carts in mines, assisting to build roads. They were able to pull twice their own weight (something unheard of at the time) in machinery and logs. These sure footed animals with a steady pace, often reaching 18 hands, quickly became this nation’s favorite horse.
Breeds of draft horses imported to America that found their way out west: Brabants, Haflingers, American Cream Percheron, Clydesdale, Belgian, Friesians, Irish Draught, Shire, Suffolk Punch.