Percheron Horse: Breed and Care Information

Percheron Horse

The Percheron is one of the world’s gentle giants. Today’s Percheron, once a battle horse and now a muscular draft horse, is equally as home in the saddle or in a harness. Competitors in the horse-pull circuit are known as percherons, who are known for their ability to match up against heavier weights. Moreover, they are often crossed with light horse breeds, such as thoroughbreds, to produce a sport-type riding horse.

History and Origins of the Percheron

The Normandy area of France is home to the Percheron breed, which had its start in the Perche province. There are various hypotheses as to where the breed came from, but no concrete evidence supports any of them. For a long time, researchers have speculated that Percherons descended from a mix between the hardy Moorish Barb horse and the huge Flemish draft horse. In the end, Arabian bloodlines were brought in to bring athleticism and elegance to the breeds.

To serve as cavalry horses, France further developed the breed throughout the 1800s. Percherons are still being bred at the national breeding facility, Le Pin, along with a number of other French horse breeds.

Early in the twentieth century, the Percheron was America’s favorite draft horse, having been introduced by French explorers in the mid-19th century. Percherons, like many other heavy-working horses, have declined in numbers as tractors and automobiles have taken their place.

As of 1934, the Percheron Horse Association of America is the breed registration for Percheron horses in the United States of America. More than 3,000 people from all 50 states are members of the organization.

Size of a Percheron

As a general rule, Percheron horses weigh between 1,800 and 2,600 pounds and stand 15 to 19 hands tall. When it comes to Percherons, they’re typically between 16 and 17 hands (64 and 68 inches) long, however this varies according on the lineage.

Do percherons have good temperament?

How to Raise and Use a Percheron

Percherons, originally bred as battle horses, are now more often seen hauling carriages, sleighs, and other forms of seasonal transportation. They’re also great for logging and farming because of their durability and strength.

Because of their willingness and versatility, Percherons are a popular choice for large-horse riders. Percherons may be ridden in the dressage ring in either a Western or an English saddle. A stable Percheron horse may be a confidence-building ride for the inexperienced rider.

It’s rare to see Percherons being ridden, but they appear like they have a lot of energy and a calm demeanor. My first thought was that they may make terrific riding horses, so I did some study.

Percherons are outstanding horses for extended trail rides and eventing because of their conformation, energy, and endurance. Percherons may be used for a broad variety of different types of riding.

At a trot, they could cover up to 37 miles a day in the nineteenth century. Unlike many draft horse breeds, these horses are simple to care for and can thrive in a variety of climates and situations. They have strong bones and feet.

Symbols and Colors

A percheron’s coloration may range from black to gray to chestnut to bay to red. There are no additional colors permitted in the register for French-bred Percherons. White marks are permissible, however excessive white is seen as a problem.

The Percheron’s legs are noticeably muscular despite their lack of leg feathering, unlike the Clydesdale and other draft breeds. In addition, their manes and tails, which are generally wavy, may be rather thick.

For another thing, Percherons are more active than some of their draft horse ancestors. For their strong, proud stance, as well as their intellect and drive to please, they’re much sought after In addition, their endurance is famous. At a trot, the horse could go roughly 40 miles per day in the 1800s, according to breed advocates.

Dietary and nutritional considerations

A Percheron may consume up to three times as much food as a horse of same size. 30 pounds of good hay and 5 pounds of feed each day is no problem for it. Supplementing the horse’s diet with vitamins and minerals may be important if the horse is unable to graze on pasture.

Health and behavioral issues that affect many people

Aside from a few health difficulties, Percherons are typically good-natured horses with very minor behavioral disorders. Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy may affect certain Percherons in the same way that it affects many other heavy horse breeds. Muscles are unable to retain glucose effectively, and muscular tissue is destroyed as a result. Although it isn’t reversible, it can be controlled with diet and exercise.

Osteochondritis dissecans, a painful joint ailment characterized by cartilage and bone cracking, can occur in young Percherons. Growth and activity are generally to blame.


Percherons must maintain a regular grooming regimen. Even in the midst of a frigid winter, their clothes might grow unbearably thick and cumbersome. To eliminate filth, debris, knots, and loose hair, frequent grooming is essential. It’s well-known that germs thrive in the horse’s leg hair, which may lead to skin irritation and illness. It’s critical that you maintain a neat, tidy, and dry environment at that location.

All-Star Percheron Horses for Celebrity OwnersA horse called Jean Le Blanc, who was born in 1823, is credited as one of the first sires of the contemporary Percheron. This horse is the ancestor of all modern Percherons.

Gray Percherons pulled yellow carts that were synonymous with the Armour Packing Company in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They also competed against the best horses of their day in the driving ring, which Armour’s horses participated in. The Armour team was also the star of a circus performance.

Pabst Brewery utilized Percherons to run its mills and distribute beer to Chicago in the 1800s. ‘ During the 1904 World’s Fair, the Pabst family raised their own Percherons and competed against them.

It was in the 1980s that the Heinz Hitch was born, a tribute to the horse-drawn delivery history. The hitch was a great attraction at parades and shows around the United States because of its eight black Percherons. When the Heinz Percherons were retired in 2007, they were given to the Army to be used in ceremonies.

Are percherons easy keepers?

Percheron Horses are not for everyone.

Percherons are wonderful horses for first riders, even if they need mounting blocks due to their gentle demeanor. If you’ve never had a horse before and don’t have the kind of experience that many other breeds demand, then this gorgeous breed is perfect for you. In the garden, they’re recognized as easy-to-grow plants that may thrive in a variety of temperatures and situations.

How to Get a Percheron Horse for Adoption or Sale

The price of a Percheron may vary from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the age, training level, and lineage of the horse. Before deciding to adopt or purchase a horse, visit the rescue or breeder to get a feel for the animal. Consider its disposition, and if feasible, inquire about its degree of training.

For breeders, be sure that you will be provided with evidence of the horse’s ancestry, where it was bred, and its health history before purchasing it. In the event that this isn’t offered, you may not be working with a trustworthy breeder Additionally, inquire about the horse’s history, health, and temperament from a rescue group. If the answers don’t sit well with you, it’s time to move on to another horse.

Arabian lineages affect Percherons.

Foreign horses, particularly Arabian stallions, were imported by the Vikings and crossed with local mares. The Percheron horse breed was born out of the offspring.

They may trace their origins to the Huisne river valley in the Perche region, where they were first bred.

History suggests that the locality had a greater impact on the evolution of this particular breed than its genetic makeup.

When Percherons were first developed, they were primarily used for agricultural work and as a kind of transportation for people on foot. The Percherons, on the other hand, were used by French knights as ferocious war mounts in the early 17th century.

The Percherons of that time weren’t as tall as they are now; they were robust and muscular, but they were also a little shorter. Between 15 and 16 hands tall, the Percherons the French knights rode into battle were widespread.

Percherons were sought after warhorses for their temperament, intelligence, and athleticism.

In the 19th century, percherons were on the verge of extinction.

Toward the end of the 19th century, a stud was brought in to help revive the breed. Jean Le Blanc was the moniker given to this stud when he was first discovered.

Because Jean Le Blanc did his job well, now every Percheron can trace its ancestry back to him. As soon as the breed was re-established, the French government started using the horses to train them as military mounts.

Percheron Horse live between 15 and 20 years
Percheron Horse eating

Many equestrian activities rely on percherons.

Percherons are capable of a wide range of activities due to their combination of physical prowess and mental agility. Percheron grabbed my attention as I was watching teenage riders practice showjumping recently!

This Percheron, who was originally used as a crowd control horse before being converted to the show ring, epitomizes flexibility.

When I saw this Percheron in action, I chatted to its owner and found that it had previously served as a crowd-control horse for the New Orleans Police Department.

There are two distinct body types for Percheron Horse.

Originally a small draft horse, the French horse’s appearance has altered dramatically since the 8th century. There are two unique body types of French draft horses, both draft horses, but one is hefty and the other light.

All across the globe, they are a beloved draft breed because of their graceful, lively natures and charming dispositions.

The demeanor of Percherons has been described as “calm.”

A gentle and friendly horse type, this French draft breed isn’t slow or uninteresting. They aren’t fazed by high traffic or rough terrain.

They’re well-educated, self-assured, and reliable. But unlike other draft breeds, they are a fiery horse, which might be due to their warhorse heritage.

It’s no secret that percherons are full of life.

The energy level of this French draft breed is the greatest of any draft breed. Even though these horses have a lot of activity, they are not “high-strung.” They have no fear, seldom frighten, and are quite simple to handle.

In the event that they get frightened, they quickly restore their cool. Because of their peaceful demeanor, these horses are commonly used by people with disabilities. They’re not the kind to bolt at the first sign of trouble, but they’ll travel wherever you want them to.

Percherons are utilized in a wide range of equestrian competitions when trained by an expert. It’s easy to get along with the dogs, and they’re eager to please.

Is the gait of Percheron Horse known?

Percherons are used in a variety of horse competitions, but I began to wonder whether they are gaited and how pleasant they are to ride. My curiosity was piqued by the fact that I had never rode one.

Although Percherons do not have a gaited gait, they have a very neat gait as they move. They have a regal demeanor and are generally easy to ride. Like many other non-gaited breeds, it may be difficult to ride while trotting.

For the gaited horse, there is always a single foot on the ground at any one moment. A smooth ride is possible because the horse always has one foot on the ground, preventing a dip between steps.

Percheron Horse have a well-defined shape.

Ideally, a Percheron has a croup that is long, level, and spherical. With a big, deep chest and laid-back shoulders, he should have a close-coupled appearance.

There is a wide forehead, a straight face, a powerful jaw, and refined medium-sized ears on their heads. Most draft breed stallions have a thick, arched, and crested neck, much like their male counterparts.

They have huge knees and wide hocks, all of which contribute to their sturdy build. Long pasterns and shortened cannon bones characterize their anatomy. Hooves that are medium-sized and hard are found on their feet. This is a tough breed with strong bone and muscle.

Do Percheron horses have a long lifespan?

As far as I know, the average lifespan of a draft horse is roughly 18 years, but Percherons are different. As a result, I began to wonder whether they had a longer lifetime than other draft horses.

Most big draft breeds, including Percherons, may expect to live between 15 and 20 years. As resilient as they are, Percherons don’t have any known health issues. For light horse breeds, the average longevity is 25-30 years, whereas for heavier horse breeds, the average lifespan is closer to 40 years.

Are percherons bigger than clydesdales?

Clydesdales are larger than Percherons.Because of their enormous size, I’m usually taken aback whenever I see one of these horses. We own Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds, which may explain my astonishment, but I’m wondering whether Percherons are bigger than the Clydesdales.

French draft horses, like the Clydesdale, are larger than Percheron horses, although Clydesdales tend to be taller and heavier on average. Both breeds are huge draft horses.

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