John Boy, a rare breed Suffolk Horse, currently on the Rare Breed Survival Trust's critically endangered list. There are less then 500 Suffolk Horses left in the world, they are even rarer then a Giant Panda.
Equine Rare Breeds
All horses and ponies are descended from the wild horse, these ancient breeds include the endangered Przewalski's horse and the now extinct Tarpan. Equine species are believed to have been domesticated by nomadic tribes for transport before being used in the agricultural environment. The horse superseded the Ox as a source of pulling power in agriculture, perhaps because they were easier to handle and again could be used for transport and other pulling jobs. The function of the pulling or driving horse has largely become redundant due to machines. This has meant that many traditional breeds of horse, particularly heavy set horses are now endangered especially as other breeds have become a popular choice for riding and sports.
Suffolk Punch Horses
The Suffolk Punch is the oldest breed of heavy horse to exist in its present form. All modern Suffolk Horses are descended from just one horse, Crisp's Horse of Ufford, which was foaled in 1768. There were thousands of Suffolk's throughout East Anglia before the First World War as they are immensely strong and an ideal horse for working the land or carting goods. The Suffolk was hit hard by agricultural mechanization. The breed declined rapidly, and in 1966 there were only nine Suffolk foals registered.The Suffolk is always chesnut in colour (always spelt without the "t" when referring to this breed), although the shade can vary from dark liver to a light mealy colour. The modern Suffolk is 16-17 hands high. Suffolk Horses are used for draught work and forestry. They are also cross-bred to produce heavy sports horses for competitions. Suffolk Punch Horses are on the critical watch list of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and there are less than 300 breeding females in the UK.