Walking in the outskirts of Ghent on our way from the Museum of Art to the centre one Sunday we approached a square where suddenly the sight of a gathering of horses galloping in all directions surounded us. Most pulling carriages but also
just trotting along. We wondered if it was a gymkhana or a gala but no
the notice by the sand covered square explained it all with the help of my trusty Dutch dictionary. Draught Horse (Trekpaard) Promotion (promotie) Flanders (Vlaanderen). It is interesting that the derivation of the word Draught is the Old English 'dragen' to draw or haul which is similar to the Dutch 'dragen' to carry - but wait I'm getting off the point here. We usually call them Heavy Horses, the gentle giants. Near where I live in Cumbria there is a Heavy Horse centre where you can ride over the fells or gallop along the beaches on Clydesdales and Shire Horses.
But here in Ghent the farmlands had come to the town. The light chestnut ones like this (and the first photo) with their white tail and main are the Brabant breed or the Belgium Draft Horse. The American spelling may be the clue that it is the most popular breed of Heavy Horse in the USA. They are good-looking horses
as are the white ones here taking a genteel turn around the square