The breed got its start back during the medieval times in Europe when knights would breed big, bulky horses that could carry them into battle, travel long distances with heavy packs, then later on in life pull a plow.
At times, men did not return home from battle and all that was left of them--their armor, supplies, and their horse--were returned to their grieving wives. In a small town of the coast in France a few wives and their sons started to breed the horses that had been returned when then men died in battle. They kept mixing in local horses until they obtained their desired look--a horse that was not so bulky so it could gallop much faster, but still strong and steady to do heavy work. These horses were also bred to be resilient, they could trek up mountains, through snow, deep mud, and other hostile conditions (Except desert heat).
Over time the foundation horses were crossed with other breeds such as the more refined Andalusian to add action and flashiness to the gaits, and various stock horses to add color to the breed. Finally once the breed left Europe in the 1700's the greatly resembled what today's modern Irish Draught looks like. Strong built, deep chest, compact body, thick neck, a straight to refined face, and sturdy legs.
Because of their diverse beginning today's Ardy does range is height, build, and structure slightly.
Face: They can either have a fairly straight profile or a more refined profile. But no concave Arabian-like profiles or convex draft profiles.
Neck: They always have a thick, strong neck for their build.
Withers: the withers are never overly pronounced. They have a rather level top line.
Body: Ardys have compact bodies that make them easy to collect, ride, and work on. Also, they have a level build or uphill build--but are never downhill.
Legs: they either are the prefect length for the body or slightly long. An Ardennberg's legs never look too short of their body.
Hind end: The hind end is always well rounded, muscular, and strong. Since they have a level or uphill build their hind end propels them forward.
Build: While they are never downhill their build can range from today's modern Warmblood to a typical Irish Draught horse.
Hair: Ardys usually have thick hair and they grow long, thick winter coats to protect them from the elements. You can either let all their hair grow out or cut it at any length desired. Some even have a little big of leg hair as well.
Slightest Build: www.flickr.com/photos/nevarfea…
Heaviest Build: www.flickr.com/photos/nevarfea…
Ideal Build Diagram: coming soon....
If you can think of it, the Ardennberg comes in that color! Color is one of the breed's many perks!
But certain colors are more common than others.
Base colors such as black, bay, grey, chestnut are of course very common
Roan, sabino, tobiano, etc are also common
Dominate White is quite rare
all cream mutations are very rare as well, double creams even more so!
The Pearl gene is almost unheard of. Very few horses with the pearl gene still exist
Champagne, pangere, and other modifiers like them are unusual. But not unheard of.
There are also a few special mutations that are specific to this breed
The typical Ardy is
Powerful, with substance and quality
Exceptionally strong, with sound constitution
Known for sensibility
Overall, they are powerful horses that can pull their weight in any situation. They are smart, so what you teach them sticks--good or bad.
Generally they are gentle horses and though some might get crabby at times they are not the type of horse that will hurt people or dogs. Also, they are sensible. Which means with the right training they can adapt to any discipline or situation.