Home Horse Breed Information Percherons: The Fascinating Backstory Behind Our Favorite Cold-Blooded Giants

Percherons: The Fascinating Backstory Behind Our Favorite Cold-Blooded Giants

by Dani Buckley

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Percherons come with style, grace, gentle temperament and, of course, size, but did you know the story behind their big hoofprint?

Percheron horses harnessed to a wagon

The History of Percherons

Not much is known about the history of the Percheron. However, we do know that they were discovered in Le Perche around Normandy, France. The ancestors of the modern Percheron carried real knights with shining armor into battle with style – just like we see in the medieval-themed Netflix shows. The horses were lighter back then compared to their weight in the modern-day. The Percheron is also highly spirited and ready to run into danger.

As battle’s subsided, the Percheron found its glory days in the fields. Farmers started breeding them more for a larger size so they would be able to bear a heavier load. In the 17th Century, the horses were in high demand all over Europe. At this time, they still hadn’t reached their modern-day height and were about 16hh.

19th Century Woman With Percheron Horse

All modern-day Percherons can be traced back to a single horse named Jean La Blanc, who was born in 1823. A few years down the road, in 1839, the first one set foot on US soil. Among them was a mare named Joan and a stallion by the name of Diligence. It was from these two horses that America’s breeding stock of Percherons began.

Fascinating Facts About The Percheron

Team of Percheron Horses Running. Copy Space.

Percherons belong to the cold-blooded class of horses. All draft horses are known as cold-blooded, in fact. This term typically refers to the fact that they are a calm and docile breed of horse.

The average height of a Percheron is dependent upon where in the world they reside. For example, a Percheron in American can be 16hh to a little over 17hh in America, but up to 18hh in France and a little more than 16hh in Great Brittan. In fact, this horse is among the biggest horse breeds in the world. 

You can read more about the 5 Biggest Horse Breeds In The World here.

Percheron horse in the spanish ranch

It is believed that Percherons had Arabian influences at the beginning of their stock breeding.

The horse became so popular when their populations rose in the US that by 1930 it was estimated that there were three times as many registered Percherons as there was any other draft horse breed. Even today, there are more of them in the US than there are in any other country.

Percherons almost found themselves on the endangered species list, after World War II many farmers turned to mechanical tractors, leaving not much use for the workhorse. This lead to a rapid decline in their numbers. However, even after the invention of farm equipment, Amish farms still use this unique breed to work the fields

Percherons generally only come in two colors: grey and black.

Portrait of a brown stallion Percheron with beautiful mane and harness on autumn land. Beautiful brown draft horse outdoors with white legs. Czech Republic.

Many carriages in bigger cities still use these horses to haul couples on streets on romantic horse-drawn rides and pull hay wagons and sleighs. You will also find them in parades. Additionally, many Percheron tails are docked to keep their tail from becoming tangled in their harness or carriage.

Big, bold, beautiful and a great personality, there are so many reasons Percherons are still one of the favorites among draft lovers. Have you been so lucky to have met or even ridden one?

Sources: [1], [2]


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