The Brabant is thick set with a deep heart girth and compact, strong, short back and loin. This distinction does not vary as greatly as their height. While they average between 16.2 and 17 hands, breeders have developed horses as short as 15 hands and as tall as 18 to accommodate the breeds' myriad of jobs such as logging, shrimping, farming and recreational sports. They have distinctively rounded hind quarters and their croup is characteristically double muscled with slightly hollow flanks. Their heads are small in proportion to their body with a large square jaw and straight, or slightly concave, profile. They are known for their kind eyes and intelligent expressions. Their ears are proportionate, if not small, for their heads. They have short, thick, powerful necks that join their balanced withers and shoulders making them ideal for heavy draft work. They have strong, short, hard, thick limbs that terminate in feathering ranging from slight to abundant. Heavier feathering is a relatively modern adaptation for the breed and requires more maintenance, therefore many are breeding away from this trait. However, others prefer the appearance of the flowing feathers. Their hooves are of medium to large size and well formed. They come in a variety of colors. Grays may occur, but are rare. Bay roan, red roan, blue roan, blacks, chestnuts and bays are most prevalent and some have white markings on the limbs and face.
The ideal European Brabant is of nice, middle-size with substantial muscling in which strength, power and nobility are linked harmoniously.
The European Brabant comes in a variety of colors such as chestnut, bay, black, blue roan, red roan, strawberry roan, bay roan and gray. Some white markings are also permitted.
While there is no minimum/maximum height, ideally a European Brabant should average between 15hh-17hh at the withers.
The head should have a bright expression, straight line in profile, parallel, light in comparison with the mass of the horse and carried with a proud attitude.
Mares should have a long and high neck while stallions should be more robustly muscled.
Shoulder should be sloped 45° horizontal.
Back should be straight, short and wide.
Croup should be wide, long and slightly included with a defined split.
Legs should be in a correct position with clear, distinction parts.
Movement should be regular and correct with a powerful hindquarters and no over-animation.
BACK: Beginning at the end of the withers, extending to the last thoracic vertebrae, which includes the loin.
BUTTOCK: The part of the hindquarters behind the thighs and below the root of the tail.
CANNON BONE: The area between the knee or hock and the fetlock joint, which is sometimes called the "shin" of the horse.
CHESTNUT: A callosity on the inside of each leg.
CROUP: The topline of the hindquarters, beginning at the hip, extending proximate to the sacral vertebrae and stopping at the dock of the tail.
DOCK: The living part of the tail consisting of the coccygeal vertebrae, muscles and ligaments. Sometimes used colloquially to refer to the root of the tail, below.
FLANK: Where the hind legs and barrel meet, specifically the area right behind the rib cage and in front of the stifle joint.
FOREARM: The area of the front leg between the knee and elbow.
FOREHEAD: The area between the poll, the eyes and the arch of the nose.
FORELOCK: The continuation of the mane, which hangs from between the ears down onto the forehead of the horse.
GASKIN: The large muscle on the hind leg of a horse situated between the stifle and the hock.
HEARTGIRTH: The area right behind the elbow of the horse, where the girth of the saddle/harness would go.
HINDQUARTERS: The large, muscular area of the hind legs, above the stifle and behind the barrel. Can also be used to refer to the back end of a horse.
HOCK: The large joint on the hind leg above the cannon bone.
HOOF: The foot of the horse.
KNEE: The large joint in the front legs above the cannon bone.
LOIN: The area right behind the saddle, going from the last rib to the croup.
MUZZLE: The chin, mouth, and nostrils of the face.
PASTERN: The connection between the coronet and the fetlock, made up of the middle and proximal phalanx.
POLL: Commonly refers to the poll joint at the beginning of the neck, immediately behind the ears.
SHOULDER: Made up of the scapula and associated muscles, runs from the withers to the point of shoulder.
STIFLE JOINT: The area where the tibia, the bone that forms the gaskin, meets the femur, the bone that extends upward to the hip.
THROATLATCH: The point at which the windpipe meets the head at the underside of the jaw.
WITHERS: The highest point just above the tops of the shoulder blades, seen best with horse standing square and head slightly lowered. The height of the horse is measured at the withers.
Each horse has a base color of black, bay, or chestnut. The two genes that dictate those base colors are the Extension Red/Black Factor and Agouti genes. The Extension gene controls the production of black or red pigment throughout the coat. The allele for black color (E) is dominant over the red allele (e), so a horse only needs one copy of the black allele to appear black-based. The Agouti gene modifies black pigment by pushing it to the points of the horse, creating a bay. The Agouti gene is dominant, so a black pigmented horse only needs one copy of the Agouti gene (A) to appear bay. Agouti does not have any effect on red pigment, so a chestnut who is (ee) will not appear bay even if they’re (Aa/AA) Agouti Factor gene carriers.
(Ee/EE with Aa/AA Agouti Factor)
A bay horse is an animal with a black base affected by the Agouti gene. The Agouti gene only affects black bases & restricts the distribution of black hair to points & top line.
Ee/EE with aa Agouti Factor
Black is a dominant gene & a true black will display only black hairs on their body. Although they may carry white markings on their face or legs, black animals have no brown or red hair.
ee with Aa/aa/AA Agouti Factor
Chestnut/Sorrel horses have no black hairs, they only display red hairs throughout their body, but they may have white markings on their face or legs.
NOTE: The purebred European Brabant accepts horses of all base coat colors, but only permits two color pattern genes, Roan (Rn) and Grey (Gg/GG). Horses who carry Dilution Genes or any other Color Pattern Genes will not be registerable within the premiere European Brabant Studbook (see Breed Up for details).
Roan (Rn) is a common coloration throughout the European Brabant. It is defined as a white patterning coat color trait characterized by intermixed white and colored hairs in the body while the head, lower legs, mane, and tail remain colored. Roan should not be confused with Grey. Horses may be heterozygous (N/Rn), meaning they carry one copy or homozygous (Rn/Rn) meaning they carry two copies. Horses who are homozygous of any gene will transmit that gene onto their offspring every time. The EBRA offers a variety of color tests through the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, including the Roan and Grey Zygosity Tests.
Ee/EE with aa Agouti Factor & Rn
Blue Roans have a black base coat and the roan pattern gives the horse a bluish appearance.
Ee/EE with Aa/AA Agouti Factor & Rn
Bay Roans have varying degrees of roaning on their bodies, but they retain the black main, tail and points, and often have a solid brown head.
ee with Aa/aa/AA Agouti Factor & Rn
Strawberry/Red Roans have a chestnut base coat and vary from a pinkish to nearly all chestnut with red main and tail.
A grey horse is born with a base coat of Black, Bay or Chestnut, but their color is characterized by progressive depigmentation of their coat.