Boulonnais: The heavy horse breeds may be described variously as massive, majestic, powerful or sometimes just ponderous. Of them all, however, none is more beautiful than the Boulannais, native to northwest France, a breed that has been acclaimed as Europe's noblest draft horse.
It's elegance and striking appearance are due to the repeated infusions of eastern blood it has received. The first of these is said to have come from the numidian cavalry that was encamped on the Boulogne coast prior to Julius Caesar's invasion of Britian 55-54BC. It wasn't until the 17th century that the breed became known as the Boulonnais.
The breed is distinguished by the expressive arabian like head.
There is little or no feathering on the lower legs and the joints are large and solid. The neck is almost always arched, even in mares, and is longer than in other draft breeds.
The graceful, flowing lines of the Boulonnais are unusual in draft breeds, often described as looking "like polished marble."
The result of this more refined conformation is an exceptional action for a horse that is usually over 16.3hh. The unigue qualities of the breed sets it apart from other heavy horses of Europe. The combination of the cold blood of European heavy horses with the hot blood of the arabian, barb and spanish horses are evident in the Boulannais of today.
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