Video: Latvian Horse
The Latvian horse is a draft horse breed bred in Latvia. It was approved as independent in 1952. When breeding, the methods of absorption and reproductive crossing of local horses of the northern forest type with producers of the Hanover, Oldenburg and other breeds were used.
There are two main intra-breed types - heavy-harness and light-harness. Horses of heavy harness type, massive build, usually black, less often bay color. They are distinguished by high working qualities when used in harness. Horses of a light-harness type, predominantly of a red color, approach in their shape to riding half-blooded breeds. They account for about 30% of the total number of purebred animals. By crossing mares of this type with thoroughbred riding breeders, horses are obtained for equestrian sports, tourism and export.
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The main colors are piebald, karak, black, red and brown. White markings on head and legs are allowed. Live weight of stallions 650 kg, mares - 600 kg.
Average measurements of stud stallions, cm: height at withers - 165, body length - 170, chest girth 198, cannon girth - 23; measurements of mares, respectively, 160-166-195-22.
Build: large head with a straight profile; long and muscular neck; oblique, powerful shoulders; deep and wide chest; straight back; long, slightly sloping croup; legs are short, strong, with well-developed joints; the hooves are hard.
Official records set on Latvian horses: for urgent delivery of cargo at a trot (distance 2 km, pulling force 50 kg, conventional wagon weight 1.5 t) - 4 min 36.8 s; for urgent delivery of cargo at a step (distance 2 km, traction force 150 kg, conventional weight of the carriage 4.5 t) - 13 min 36 s; for traction endurance in a skid device (traction force 300 kg, nominal weight of the cart 9.0 t) - 1537 m; for the maximum traction force - 927.5 kg.
The Latvian horse is a fairly strong, hardy breed with a calm and gentle character. Horses are raised in stable and pasture conditions. Hay occupies a significant share in their diets, and grass in summer. They are distinguished by longevity, good health and fertility. Representatives of the breed successfully compete in dressage and show jumping.
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One of the most famous Latvian horses is Rasti (1988-2013), born in Burtnieki. German rider Ulla Salzgeber took part in the European Championships in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003, where she won four team golds and two individual golds.
In 1998, there were about 30,000 horses in Latvia, 70% of which were in private hands. Currently, according to the Latvian Horse Breeders Association, there are eight lines in the breed.
The main breeding herds are located at the Burtnieki state farm, the Uzveri and Tervete collective farms, and the Sigulda Experimental Industrial Institute. In 2013, 5572 Latvian horses were registered in the stud book of the breed.