Percheron Horse Breed Profile

The history of the Percheron remains unclear, but at two points in history the native horses of the Le Perche region of France were mated with Arab stallions. By the 17th century these horses had a widespread reputation that made them in demand for a number of uses, and in the 19th century it was the most popular horse among farmers and teamsters in the United States.

Breed Uses
Competition Cross
Dressage Cross
Driving Cross
Endurance Cross
Jumping Tick
Racing Cross
Ranch Tick
Riding Tick
Rodeo Cross
Showing Tick
Trail Cross
Working Tick
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Percheron Horse Fact File

Origins: The exact origins of the Percheron have been lost over time. By the time of the crusades the Percheron was widely recognized as outstanding for his substance and soundness, as well as for his characteristic beauty and style. Percherons were first imported to the United States in 1839 and thousands more in the last half of the 19th century. The Percheron quickly became the favorite of both the American farmer and the teamster who moved freight on the nations city streets. Following World War II, the invention of the modern farm tractor nearly made the breed extinct. The 1960's, saw a renaissance in the draft horse business as Americans rediscovered it's usefulness. Percherons are now back on small farms and working in the forest. Thousands of Percherons are used for recreation such as hayrides, sleighrides and parades.

Characteristics: Percherons are noted for heavy muscling in the lower thighs and for an aspect of unusual ruggedness and power. Also characteristic of the Percheron is the clean action and quality conformation of the feet and legs. An ideal horse should have a fairly long level croup with a big round hip. He should be close coupled and wide and deep through the chest, with plenty of back rib. The muscles of the arms, forearms, croup and gaskins plenty are especially emphasized in a good drafter, and ease and balance of gait is essential. He is also expected to be of marked tractability and an easy keeper. Good Percherons have a large and full prominent eye, a broad and full forehead, and straight face. His strong jaw and refined ears attractively set and carried with animation, suggests his arabian ancestry. Stallions should have a ruggedness about the head and mares should have a feminine look

Height: 15 - 19 hands

Color: Usually black or grey, but there are also sorrels, bays, roans, etc

Personality: Proud, alert, intelligent and willing worker

Reader's Comments on the Percheron Horse
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Added on Jan 9th, 2009

   
Greetings! What a fabulous retirement you have planned!!
   
As you know, everyone has a favorite breed or strong opinions one way or the other; so take this for what it's worth. I have raised (and started from the ground up) Quarter Horses, Paints, POA's, Arabians and Thoroughbreds. Although every horse is an individual and experiences can be wildly varied; the easiest by far have been the stock-type breeds both QH and Paints. Now, having said that... last year I acquired a badly abused, misused, neglected Percheron gelding somewhere between 5 and 7 years old. This horse was utterly terrified of humans and rightly so, given his background. In spite of the hurdles of his psychological issues, he has been the easiest horse I've ever trained. I have no previous experience with the breed and but one horse to judge by, but he is by far the sweetest, most gentle and most honest horse I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
   
The research I've done since buying this horse leads me to believe that he is not an "exception" but rather the "rule".
   
I would definitely recommend the breed and suspect that an experienced horse person, such as yourself, will have no problem whatsoever with a good-minded youngster.
   
My only advice: They clearly do not know their own strength... make SURE that YOU DO. :o)
   
Best of luck to you.
   
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