The Suffolk Punch was hard at work in Australia even before the breed’s Stud Book was started in England.
Records from as early as the 1820’s show that draught horses were imported to New South Wales, among them, the Suffolk Punch. In 1824 the Suffolk Punch stallion Dieman was standing at stud in Tasmania. By the 1850’s several Suffolk Punch studs became established across what was to become Australia.
By 1857 one of the bigest studs was established in New South Wales; gradually the Suffolk Punch was “exported” to the other colonies of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
Renowned for being a strong dead-weight pulling horse, it was a natural progression to cross the Suffolk with other draught horse breeds to produce what is now known as the Australian Draught Horse, a versatile horse suited to Australian conditions.
The Suffolk also was crossed with light horses to produce utility horses. The Suffolk also contributed to the horse that went to war – the Waler.
The Suffolk Punch and the Australian Environment
The Suffolk Punch was, and is, well suited to the dry and dusty conditions so prevalent in drought prone Australia.
Their solid chestnut coloured coat with the minimum of white helps to avoid sunburn and melanomas. Their hoofs of dark horn are very tough and their legs are devoid of feathering, thus minimising the risk of grease. Despite its prodigious size, the Suffolk Punch has a solid reputation as a good “doer” and is able to work and survive on much less feed than some other breeds.