The Latvian horse basically originated in Latvia, formerly the U.S.S.R., dating way back to the 20th century. It is believed that the local breed horses were the direct ancestors of the Latvian horses, probably the tarpans that are now extinct.
Tall and heavy-muscled, the horses of this breed have a well-proportioned and solid build. Though the Latvians are usually in the bay, brown or black colors, a few of these horses can also be seen in the chestnut color.
The folklore of Latvia carries a vast number of stories about the breeding and usage of the Latvian horses. History shows that the horses of this breed have always been a consistent partner and companion for the Latvian farmers and warriors right from the time when this territory was inhabited by people. The Latvian horse breed was basically bred in farms, with the use of imported horses, along with the horses bred in Okte and Svetciems along with the local breed stock.
Assistance in the farming operations has been the main known traditional role played by these horses in the past. They have been quite efficient as hard-working and strong partners in farming, playing roles from carrying heavy loads to being good riding horses.
These horses have been extensively used in the farms for the purpose of transportation. Being trained for such tasks early on, the Latvian horse is well aware of the mechanism of carrying loads of haystacks and the like. Besides, the Latvian horses have also formed good riding horses in the past. Being willing and cool by temperament, the Latvian horses can be trained quite easily for this purpose. It was this dual capacity of these horses of acting as a carriage as well as a riding horse that had made them extremely popular.
Right from the beginning, the Latvian horses are known for their multi-capability and talent. This led the horses of this breed to gain worldwide popularity in the competitive environment. For instance, Rusty-049, the famous dressage horse, owned by Ulla Salzgeber is a Latvian horse. Adding on, Kasting Horses Vento, the famous show jumping and competition horse, which is ridden by the famous rider Helena Weinberg is also a horse of the same breed.
Interestingly enough, in 1952 the government announced a declaration by which the Latvian horse breed was to be called only by its united name as the 'Latvian draught horse breed'. However, since these horses were so perfect not only as carriage horses but also as riding and sports horses that in 1976, there was a yet another decision to address the breed as the 'Latvian horse breed'.
Apart from these primary roles, there is brief evidence that these horses have also been used for therapeutic purposes at times. Being highly amiable by temperament, these animals have been known to be used in the treatment of disabled people. Infact, at times, they have even been helpful for the people suffering from some specific types of psychological disorders.