Swedish Ardennes horse
|Distinguishing features||Medium-sized draft horse breed|
|Country of origin||Sweden|
|Equus ferus caballus|
The Swedish Ardennes is 15.2 to 16 hands (62 to 64 inches, 157 to 163 cm)} and weighs 1,200 to 1,600 pounds (540 to 730 kg). It has a small, heavy head for its size with small eyes; a short, thick neck; a short back with a wide chest, and well-muscled shoulders. The Swedish Ardennes has a muscular, compact body with stout legs, some feathering on its legs and blue, open hoofs. The predominant colors are black, blood bay, and chestnut. It can withstand extremes in weather; Swedish Ardennes horses are very strong and willing workers and easy keepers. They are also known for their longevity, an even but not sluggish temperament, and good overall health.
Swedish Ardennes horses were developed by crossing imported Ardennes horses (a heavy draft breed from Belgium and northern France) with the North Swedish Horse. In 1872, Count C.G. Wrangel began importing Ardennes horses and by 1880, Ardennes imports and crossbreds had made inroads across south and central Sweden. The goal was to improve on the size and strength of native Swedish horses; to this end, a studbook was established in 1901.
Although farming is now done with machinery (except on remote hill farms), the Swedish Ardennes is still popular as a cart horse; it is also used for hauling timber in mountain areas inaccessible by machinery. Despite the increasing mechanization of agriculture and forestry, the Swedish Ardennes still makes up the largest proportion of Sweden's registered purebred stallions.