Percheron: This elegant breed was developed in La Perche, in the south of Normandy. Its exact origins are unknown, but one theory is that the Percheron and the Boulonnais breed are closely related. In the eighteenth century, arab stallions at the Royal stud at La Pin were made available to breeders of Percherons to upgrade their stock. The great strength and courage of the breed made it very popular as a war horse. They were also in great demand world wide as coach and farm horses.
First imported into the United States in 1839, the ocean voyage proved to be difficult and few horses survived the trip. Although the first importations of the breed were less than successful, one stallion, named Diligence, lived through hardship and later was credited with siring almost 400 foals. Later importing efforts were more successful and by 1906, over 13,000 horses were imported to the United States from France. Today the breed is still used in forestry and farm work. They are crossbred with lighter horses to produce heavy hunters with good dispositions. The horses are often used for parades, they can also be found pulling carriages in tourist area's. One of the most famous horse teams in the United States is the Heinz team, whose appearances have included multiple showings at the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Percherons generally stand between 16.2 and 17.3 hands high. Although the world's largest horse on record was a US bred percheron named Dr. Le Gear, who stood at 21 hands high and weighed over 2900lbs. The average weight of the breed is around 1,900 pounds, although the top weight is around 2,600 pounds. They are generally gray or black in coloring. Described as proud and alert, intelligent and willing workers, they are considered to be uncomplicated to train and easy keepers.
Return from Percheron to Horse Riding Connection