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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Boulonnais [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The story of the Boulonnais breed starts around 54 BC, at the Boulonnais region in northern France, with the arrival of Julius Caesar and its Roman army. The Roman cavalry brought Spanish and Oriental horses, which were crossed with the local horses. Further crossings with Andalusian and Mecklenburg horses took place in the 17th or 18th centuries.
The fish carts and the Small Boulonnais:
By the 17th century, the Boulonnais was a well-known breed in France, especially because of its role in pulling carts full of fish from the Boulonnais district to Paris. These Boulonnais horses were relatively small compared to other draft breeds, standing between 15hh and 15.3hh.
While they were small, they also had the energetic temper, impressive endurance, and elegant action of their Oriental and Spanish ancestors, three traits that made them popular among French breeders. Today, this small form of the Boulonnais breed is known as "Small Boulonnais" ('Petite Boulonnais.')
The farms and the Large Boulonnais:
Some breeders focused on increasing the size of their small Boulonnais horses in order to turn them into better farm horses. They managed to generate a larger subtype of the Boulonnais breed, which became known as the "Large Boulonnais" ('Grand Boulonnais.')
The Boulonnais during the 20th century:
The breed, which was officially recognized in 1886, remained popular until the 20th century, when its numbers plummeted. During the 1970s, the Boulonnais breed suffered from inbreeding, and almost went extinct. However, it was recovered thanks to a successful breeding program, and today it exists in small yet steady numbers.
The Boulonnais today:
Today, the Boulonnais is primarily known for its iconic light-grey coat. This horse is more than looks, though. It combines pulling power and strength with elegance of movement, which is why it is used primarily for driving.
That said, because they are still a bit too heavy for competitive driving, Boulonnais horses are sometimes crossed with Arabians to produce the Arabo-Boulonnais, which is lighter and yet strong enough for serving as a driving horse (see the 'Arabo-Boulonnais' for more info.)
Boulonnais horses have a deep head with a straight profile and large eyes. The neck is muscular and slightly arched, with some horses having a large crest. The back is deep and connects to a long, sloping croup. The legs are thick and the hooves are large, although not as large as seen in other draft breeds
The mane and tail can grow long and be wavy. The legs always have feathering that ranges from light feathering at the back of the fetlocks to medium feathering along the back of the cannons.
The following are the: range, average, (SD), and MOE of performance metrics of ordered Boulonnais horses in Horse Isle (not bred ones). In rare cases,
Speed: 14.0-16.4, 15.2 (0.5), 0.1.
Sprint: 35-55, 45 (5), 0.9.
Accel: 0.76-0.95, 0.85 (0.04), 0.01.
Decel: 1.01-1.17, 1.09 (0.04), 0.01.
Jump: 4.83-5.19, 5.02 (0.07), 0.01.
Pull: 3.14-3.94, 3.58 (0.16), 0.03.
Turning: 44.82-56.85, 51.23 (2.59), 0.51.
Reverse: 2.1-2.7, 2.4 (0.1), 0.02.
Stamina: 51.10-57.40, 54.35 (1.56), 0.31.
Reaction: 0.80-0.91, 0.86 (0.02), 0.00.
Coats & Height:
Colors: usually light grey, but more rarely dark-grey, chestnut, and black.
Additionals: flaxen, rabicano, sooty. The coat is always solid and can has white markings.
* not bridle.
Height: 15hh to 17.3hh, though most of the Boulonnais horses usually stand between 15.1hh and 16.3hh.
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