If any one out there knows any thing about this breed tell me every thing you know!
All I know is they are big, black and expensive :P
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A bit over simplified.
They have a pretty wide range of sizes and 3 variations of build.
They are one of the old classic "baroque" horse breeds (like the Lipizzan). Very popular during the middle ages. Almost extinct by the end of the WW II.
They have never been a draught breed although many have mistaken them as such. Most likely because some of them (like some of the Lipizzan) in the early 20th century were bred to be a bit larger for use in pulling carriages and wagons for farm work. The three variations are not significantly different.
One type has a lighter, sportier build (like my younger horses sire).
The classical type (the type common for most of it's history) is slightly heavier and has a build much like other baroque breeds.
The larger (by weight) is slightly heavier than the baroque, but still an easy to ride and generally too light to be classified as a draught horse.
Height can vary significantly from in the 15 hands range up to just over 17 hands. Many of the lighter, sportier one's are tall, but any of the three types can be found in all height ranges.
Mentally the most defining characteristics I've experienced are:
Generally a pretty calm animal. Don't readily spook. Tend to spook really big when they do, but recover quite quickly (e.g. have had them spook, yanking the lead away, but only run about 15 yards before stopping and standing calmly for me to take rope again).
They are powerful (even by horse standards), so it's a good thing they tend to be rather calm. I've found that they respond extremely well to a reward/praise system during training. Even more so than some other horses I've dealt with.
I've found that for me some of their extended trots can be difficult to sit and just easier to post or even easier to just stand
(they seem to almost hang in the air slightly when I'm sitting on them)
They have a LOT of hair and since most people like to have all their hair flowing as long as possible you end up with tails that sweep the ground of anything not heavy enough to avoid being collected. Manes so long that they'll collect anything where they lay down. So checking the out ever couple of days is a good idea to avoid having a small tangle become a large tangle.
I've known some that suffered from seasonal skin issues.
Scratches can be a problem in the feathering, but easily avoided by checking them when you pick their feet. In my personal experience I've seldom scratches, but I know people for whom it's been much more common.
Price can actually vary a great deal (and expensive is a relative term). I've been offered my pick of any mare in the heard for $5,000 which many think is cheap
. Which it is when compared to people selling them for
$25,000 and up. A lot of it depends on where you're locating (some parts of the country are more expensive than others). Getting to be close friends with a breeder never hurts either