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Extinction by NAIS
























 

Windt im Wald Farm
Geauga County, Northeast Ohio
since 1995

THE SUFFOLK PUNCH

The oldest breed of draft horse developed in Great Britain is the Suffolk Punch. The word "Punch" refers to the fact that the horse's body appears to massive and powerful for its short legs. It also recall's Charles Dickens' character, who was a fat boy. Nevertheless, individual Punches are usually 16.1 to 17.1 hands. All of them trace to a stallion called Crisp's Horse of Ufford, foaled in 1768.By 1966 only NINE Suffolk Punch foals were born. In 2002 there were said to be only about seventy-five mares capable of breeding in the Punch's native East Anglia, Great Britain.

All Suffolk Punches are chestnut. In their native East Anglia, England, the word is spelled "chesnut," and there are seven distinct shades: dark, approaching black (also known as liver), dull dark chesnut, light chesnut, red, golden, lemon yellow, and the so-called bright chesnut.

Although Suffolk Punches were used primarily in the past to haul heavy farm equipment and for plowing, today they are appearing in horse shows throughout England. In the show ring the Punch's tail is braided from beginning to end and then folded up, tied either by a string or held in place by paper raffia or a ribbon bow. The mane is decorated with ornamental devices that look like balls or the feathered ends of arrows, and there may be a lavish raffia braid to which part of the mane is also attached. Bits and bridles are used with all Suffolks in the show ring except youngsters still with their mothers. The most lavish pieces of show equipment are the ornamental brewer wagons and silver-trimmed harness that are pulled by hitches of two or four Suffolk Punches.

In spite all of their pomp, power, and punch, the small number of Suffolk Punches remain famous for their quiet, kind, intelligent demeanor. Perhaps with great care and dutiful diligence the Suffolk Punch breeders will be able to save their breed from extinction.

Diane Jones
Windt im Wald Farm

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