Huge Horse Known For His Strength Shows Off A Different Side Out In The Field

In the world of horses, few are as powerful and imposing as the Belgian draft horse. Weighing in at over 2,000 pounds, these gigantic horses usually get put to work doing heavy lifting, pulling sleighs, and helping with farm work. In other words, you’re not likely to see one galloping down a race track or trotting in a beauty contest—unless you meet this horse, that is.

Buffalo van’t Zwaluwnest, a Belgian draft horse with a million-dollar name, carried all the size and strength of his brethren—but he had a little something extra hiding in his hooves. He put his unlikely skillset on display for the world to see, and people still haven’t picked their jaws up off the floor!

People often regard Belgian draft horses for their imposing natures and incredibly powerful muscles. After all, it’s not at all uncommon for these animals to weigh in excess of 2,000 pounds! Suffice it to say, they’re more burly than their sleeker, elegant counterparts.

Perhaps this will help put their power into perspective. Rather than running races on the track, these gigantic horses can commonly be found pulling heavy sleighs. Or, if you’re Petra, the world’s strongest draft horse, you pull enormous crossbows… mounted on logs.

Robert Piessens / YouTube

But then there are Belgian draft horses like Buffalo van’t Zwaluwnest. Sure, he wouldn’t have looked out of place carrying medieval warfare weapons, but he had even more eye-popping qualities, too. And recently, he decided to show them off!

Robert Piessens / YouTube

When Buffalo van’t Zwaluwnest’s handler first led him out onto a field, the gigantic Belgian horse trotted—nay, lumbered! In fact, his gait was just about what most people would expect from a horse of his breed. But then…

YouTube / Robert Piessens

The horse shed the stereotypes the moment he was set free! At first, he trotted along aimlessly in the field. But don’t be fooled; he was just warming up to show people what he was all about.

Robert Piessens / YouTube

Once he started moving, you could see just how elegant and graceful old Buffalo van’t Zwaluwnest was on his own feet. He crossed one end of the field to the other with the careful nature of a seasoned ballerina on stage.

Running across the field as the cameras rolled didn’t quite capture his good side, so Buffalo doubled back, showing off his most photogenic features. Truly, this work horse knew how to work a camera!

And then, as if understanding just how regal and picturesque he appeared, Buffalo paused in the cold, letting out his breath in plumes of white fog. He froze only for a moment before doing something stunning…

Yup, he was off again! And as Buffalo van’t Zwaluwnest ran towards the camera, he looked right into the lens, as if to say, “Yes, I know I’m a big, beautiful boy. Behold! You are witnessing magic on hooves.”

Regardless of how elegant Belgian draft horses like Buffalo can be, the enormous breed has, at times, become a problem for the people who own them. Yep, believe it or not, horses like ol’ Buffalo are in trouble…

Oklahoma National Guard / Flickr

As noted, Belgian draft horses are huge, and that means they eat a lot of food. A horse maintaining its body weight can eat one to three percent of its body weight in hay per day—so about 20 pounds! That can get costly.

Purina Mills

Factor in the amount of space they take up and exercise they require, and you can see why there isn’t a huge demand for Belgian draft horses as pets. And when those who do try to own them ultimately can’t afford them, they have trouble finding new homes. Few people want a secondhand draft horse!

So when owners can’t keep their horses, they put them up on auctions, where buyers typically intend on shipping horses like Buffalo to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada. A woman named Jasmin Shinn saw that kind of cold-heartedness firsthand…

Perry Backus / Missoulian

Jasmin traveled to Billings, Montana, to buy a Belgian draft horse at an auction. But she was an outlier; she wanted the 1,500-pound horse, named Tiny, to come live with her in Corvallis. At the auction, she spoke with another potential buyer.

Robert Piessens / YouTube

She asked the buyer what he planned on doing with Tiny if he outbid her. Did he have a farm back home? Kids who’d play with him? Not even close. “His exact words to me were, ‘I’m going to chop his head off,'” recalled Jasmin.

This understandably struck a chord in Jasmin. “That was something I wasn’t going to let happen,” she said. On that day, she outbid everyone for Tiny. But she left Billings with more than just a horse—she left with a mission.

David Schultz / Flickr

Starting in 2015, Jasmin began rescuing and nursing Belgian draft horses, and she worked at re-homing horses on the chopping block. By 2017, she’d started a non-profit dedicated to stopping horse abuse, One Horse at a Time Draft Horse Rescue.

Perry Backus / Missoulian

When someone wanted to adopt a rescued horse, Jasmin made sure the animals didn’t end up back at an auction. “I try to find out as much as possible about the horse before I offer it to someone,” she said. “I want to make sure that it’s going to be a good match.”

Perry Backus / Missoulian

“I never want to find one of these horses at an auction again,” Jasmin said. “I know that I can’t save them all. But I do know that I can make a difference in the lives of a few horses that don’t have any other hope.” That must have excited Buffalo!

Robert Piessens / YouTube

Hopefully, people like Jasmin and Belgian draft horses like Buffalo van’t Zwaluwnest can show the world just how magnificent these beasts can be. Indulge in all their glory by checking out Buffalo running in the video below!

Who would have thought a horse that size could also be so elegant? Hopefully, this beauty and decadence can spread to farms all over the world!

Share this beautiful Belgian draft horse with your friends below!

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