- Origin: USSR – Latvia.
- Height: 15.2-16hh.
- Color: Usually bay, dark brown, or chestnut.
- Character: Calm, sensible, good-natured, hard-working.
Physique: Powerful, muscular horse of good conformation. Head large, with a straight face, kind eyes, and short ears. Strong, crested neck, set rather high on massive, sloping shoulders with well-defined withers, deep chest, and girth. Back straight and strong, barrel round and hard, hindquarters muscular and ample. Strong legs with much bone. Abundant mane and tail, and light feathers on heels.
There are three types of Latvian: the basic type to which 85% of them belong, a taller harness type, and a lighter type which has less bone and looks more like a trotter.
The Latvian Harness Horse is an all-purpose breed popular throughout the Soviet Union. In the south, it is thought of mainly as a draught horse while in the north its main uses are under the saddle and in harness. It is also widely used to work on farms and takes part in pulling contests and endurance tests by the common European and Soviet practice of proving a horse before he is put to stud.
The original Latvian horse has existed on its home ground since before recorded history began. It seems to have been a typical example of the Basic Forest cold-blood type of Northern Europe. From the 17th century on it has been crossed extensively with warmbloods of all kinds – many of the German saddle breeds, Arabs, and even Thoroughbreds contributed to it, and during the early part of the breed’s improvement heavy horses were also used. The breed was finally fixed in 1952.
See more: Maremmana Horse