The Huisne river valley in France gave rise to the Percheron Horse Breed, which was named after Orne, which was part of the ancient Perche province.
Originally, they were bred to be used as war horses. They were first employed to pull stagecoaches, then for agriculture, and finally for moving big items. Arabian blood was introduced to the breed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In the late nineteenth century, they were exports from France to the United States and other nations increased dramatically, and the first entirely breed studbook was established in France in 1883.
Thousands of Percherons were imported from France to the United States before World Conflict I, but transportation was halted after the war broke out. During the war, the breed was widely employed in Europe, with some horses being brought from the United States to France to aid in the war effort.
They represented 70% of the draft horse population in the United States in the 1930s, but their numbers plummeted following World War II. However, the population began to rebound, and over 2,500 horses have registered per year in the United States alone in 2009. The breed is still widely employed for draft work, and it is also used for food in France. Horses for range work and competition have been produced by crossing them with many light horse breeds. Purebred Percherons are utilized for forestry work, carriage pulling, and work in the saddle.
They were exports from France to the United States and other nations increased dramatically in the late nineteenth century. They used to account for 70% of the draft horse population in the United States, but their numbers plummeted following WWII. However, by 2009, the population had begun to recover.
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Percherons are muscular creatures with a reputation for intelligence and hard labor. The profile of the head is straight, with a broad forehead, huge eyes, and small ears. The croup is long and flat, and the chest is deep and large. The feet and legs are well-muscled and tidy. The Percheron gives off an impression of strength and toughness.
The Percheron’s optimal size varies according to the country. Height and weight range from 61 to 73 inches and 500 to 1,200 kg in France. Percherons in the United States are typically between 66 and 71 inches tall, weighing 860 kg on average, with a top weight of around 1,200 kg. In the United Kingdom, stallions must be 66 inches tall and mares must be 65 inches tall, with weights ranging from 910–1,000 kg for stallions and 820–910 kg for mares.
They are usually gray or black in color, while the American registry allows roan, bay, and chestnut horses to be registered. In France and the United Kingdom, only gray or black horses are allowed to be registered. Many horses have white markings on their heads and legs, however, excessive white is considered undesirable by registries.
Percheron Horse Breed Behavior
Members of the breed are bright, willing workers with pleasant dispositions, with a proud and alert demeanor. They are easy to keep and adapt to a variety of environments and climates. They were known to travel up to 60 kilometers (a day) at a time in the nineteenth century.
The Perch is the most well-known and widely used of all French draft breeds today. They were used to improve the Ardennes and Vladimir Heavy Draft horses, as well as to develop the Spanish-Norman breed, which is a hybrid between the Andalusian and the Percheron.
The Percheron is still widely employed for draft work, and it is also utilized for meat production in France, as are other draft breeds. Percherons are used in parades, sleigh rides, and hayrides all over the world, as well as pulling carriages in major cities.
The Percheron is employed for advertising and publicity in the United Kingdom, as well as forestry and farm work. Breeders of large hunters crossbreed them with lighter horses to increase the size and improve disposition. Purebred Percherons are also ridden, and some have shown to be useful in show jumping competitions.