Some the world’s most amazing horse breeds are drafts. Their size alone makes them impressive. But It’s the retention of elegance, underneath all that bulk, that makes them truly awesome.
One breed, the Boulonnais is the epitome of size and elegance. They are also very rare – with only about 1,000 of them left, according to the North American Boulonnais Association (NABA).
Lynn Gennrich with the association told iHeartHorses.com that the breed, originating from France, traces back to 57 B.C.
“They were brought into France and became a breed favorite of the breeders in Northern France,” said Gennrich. “They were used to improve many of the European drafts and at the height of their popularity they numbered 600,000.”
They were nicknamed the “White Marble Horse of France” due to their stunning coat and beautiful conformation, looking as though they had been carved out of marble.
The American Boulonnias Horse Association describes them as:
“’…small, wide-awake Percheron’ in appearance. The head is elegant and short with a flat, wide forehead, very keen, proud eyes, well-opened nostrils, and small, mobile ears. The neck is thick and muscular with a thick double mane. The Boulonnais chest is wide, with a well-rounded rib cage and a well-set shoulder. Withers are well placed but set deep into the musculature. The back is straight and the limbs are strong and solid with clean joints. The Boulonnais is energetic, easy, active and very gentle in nature.”
While gray (“white”) is the predominant color, 15 percent of Boulonnias are chestnut, black or bay.
According to the Boulonnais Equine Association, they were used as war horses, for agriculture work, mining, even to transport fish between Boulogne- sur-Mer and Paris.
Watch this short video of these beautiful horses in action:
Hopefully these associations are successful in keeping this stunning breed going. For now, enjoy some amazing pictures, below, given to us by Lynn Gennrich. And if you are interested in owning one, contact either registries mentioned above: North American Boulonnais Association, American Boulonnias Horse Association or Boulonnias Equine Assocation (Europe)