French Saddle Horse

Origin: France.

Height: 15.2-1 6.3hh.

Color: Usually chestnut or bay, but can be any color.

Character: Brave, calm, good-tempered.

Physique: Strong saddle horse of hunter type. Head broad with wide-set eyes, tapering to a comparatively narrow muzzle. Ears long and alert. Long strong neck well set into powerful, sloping shoulders. Good, roomy chest and deep girth. Back fairly long and well-ribbed-up. Muscular hindquarters.Legs long, with excellent bone and hocks well let down.

It would be wrong to suggest that the Norman, the Anglo-Norman, and the French Saddle Horse are the same. They are included under one heading because they are all developments on the same theme, with precisely-defined points marking a transition from one sort to another. To confuse the issue, there are two very different types of the horse both bearing the name Norman, one a lightweight saddle horse and the other a cob so strong and stocky that it would be more appropriately listed under the heading of -Cold-Blood”.

To dispense with the Norman Cob, it is a muscular Draft animal of good conformation, standing about 1611h; an active horse with a free, high action, a good disposition, and lots of stamina. Hereinafter the name Norman should be taken to apply to the saddle type, except where otherwise specified.

As long as 1,000 years ago there appears to have existed in France a good, solid, spirited animal of the heavy Draft type called the Norman horse. William the Conqueror is said to have brought it to England as a war horse. Quite possibly this was the famous Great Horse from which the British heavy Draft breeds are descended. Its decline through the Middle Ages, especially when maneuverability took precedence over heavy armor and the Draft breeds lost their value as military mounts, is obscure, but during the 16th and 17th centuries, the Norman horse emerges again as a useful, rather common, working animal.

In the 17th century, importations of German and Scandinavian stallions, also Arab’s arid Barbs to a lesser extent, were bred onto theNorman mares to produce a riding type of great stamina, while 1 8th- and19th-century additions of English blood in the form of the Thoroughbred, the Norfolk Trotter, and hunter types led to the formation of the Anglo-Norman; which, judging by appearances, is at least half Thoroughbred.

The original intention behind all this interbreeding seems to have been the production of a quality coach horse, and when motorization threatened the coach horse breeders the focus pivoted to the cavalry remount market. At about this time, the split seems to have occurred between the Anglo-Norman saddle horse and the French Trotter.

Selectively bred for the saddle, and improved by top-quality -Thorough-bred stallions, the Anglo-Norman has in recent times proved itself an excellent cross-country horse. It is still popular as a cavalry horse, selling annually to the Swiss army but its roost spectacular modern successes are in the worlds of three-day-eventing and showjumping.

See more: Freiberger Saddle Horse

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