The use of the horse fitted with a shoulder collar allowed for an improvement to agricultural productivity starting in the Middle Ages. While the ox remained the animal for ploughing par excellence, the quicker pace of the horse improved the yields of the crop patterns it worked alongside the practice of three-year rotation (winter wheat in the first field, spring wheat or legumes in the second field and then fallow) in areas with large expanses.
The draft horse enabled a significant increase in crop yields.
In the 19th century, horse-drawn traction was still widely used, especially in north-west France. The horse was used to transport materials and was hitched to a carriage (a vehicle with four wheels) or a cart (a vehicle with two wheels). It was also a first choice in harrowing (use of the tool with short teeth to work the land surface to prepare a seedbed). It could also pull a roller (a multi-purpose tool used for levelling, breaking up clumps, rolling cereals or preparing a seedbed) or a dumper (a vehicle used for bulk transport with a tippable back end).
After World War II, the use of draft horses decreased with the arrival of the motor. No longer profitable, they saw their use gradually decrease from 1950.