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Articles > Dogs

Different Types of Latvian Harness Horses

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Tags: Latvian Harness Horse, History and Origins, Competition, Show

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The Latvian Harness horse is basically a breed of an ancient lineage, originating from Latvia, formerly the U.S.S.R. in the 19th century. This breed is believed to have a close relation to the Dole Gudbrandsdal, North Swedish Horse, Zemaituka, Finnish Draft and Oldenburg.

The horses of this breed are highly attractive in appearance with expressive eyes and small but alert ears. These are further well complemented by a large head and a long muscular neck. The Latvian harness horses are basically known to have a good level of stamina and endurance. Overall, these horses have a calm and willing temperament and are known to be very hard-working animals.

Usually bay in color, some members might even have black and chestnut as the basic color tone.

There are three basic types of this breed of horses, including:

  • Standard Latvian Light Harness Horse

  • The Lightweight Lativan

  • Heavy Lativan Harness Horse


  • Each of the above members of the breed are typically characterized in accordance with the functions they perform and their basic temperament.

    In the following sections, we have discussed the three basic types of the Latvian Harness horses in detail.

    Standard Latvian Light Harness Horse


    The Standard Latvian light harness horse is basically suited to light draft work. However, it is also known to be a good riding horse. In fact, in the last few years, there has been a greater emphasis on developing this category of the breed as a competitive riding horse.

    The term light harness horse basically refers to a horse of a lighter build, such as the traditional carriage horses and show horses.

    The Lightweight Lativan


    This category is a much finer and lighter member of the breed and is also the most modern of all the three categories of the Latvian harness horses. It was primarily developed through the introduction of the English Thoroughbred and the Arab blood. The infusions of Hanoverian, Oldenburg and Holstein blood supposedly have the greatest influence on the development of the breed.

    In addition, these modern riding horses are becoming increasingly popular while the population of the old draft type of horses is slowly becoming thinner. However, these horses are still able to perform remarkably well in harness, though they might not have the same draft strength.

    In fact, it is this category of the Latvian horse breed that has gained immense success in the competitive series, both at dressage as well as show jumping.

    The Heavy Draft Horse


    This particular type of the Latvian Harness horse is closest in form to the original breed. Its main characteristics include great strength and pulling power.

    Basically a large horse, the heavy draft horse is mainly bred for hard and heavy tasks such as ploughing and farm labor. In the present, these horses are used for multiple purposes including draft horse showing, farming and for the sheer pleasure as well. These members of the breed are also used for crossbreeding, especially when the process involves breeds like the Thoroughbred.


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