conformation large head, straight profile, short, bulky neck,
compact body, short, strong legs, small, hard feet
colour chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, bay, roan
height 14.3-16.3 hands
uses light or heavy draught
A demanding climate and less-than – fertile land shaped the Breton horse – named for Bretagne, or Brittany in northwest France. Horses had been present in the region’s mountains for thousands of years, although their provenance is open to debate, but this breed bears a resemblance to the Russiansteppe horses. During the Crusades of the Middle Ages, the Breton was sought after bythe military for his strength, stamina and comfortable gait, even though he stood only around I4 hands at that time. In the 17th century, Breton horses were exported to New France – Canada – bythe French king.
As demand for types of horse changed, the Breton was crossed with other breeds including Boulonnais, Percheron and Ardennais. In the 19th century Norfolk Trotter blood was introduced and resulted in the Postier Breton, which became the pride of the French Horse Artillery and was far more elegant than the original hairy little mountain horse. For his size, he had remarkably airy and easy gaits.The Postier type is still found today as is a heavier draught type, fast – maturing and sturdy and possessing great strength and stamina and thus a valued work horse. The studbooks have been closed since 1920, ensuring the breed continues without dilution of foreign blood.
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