Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Franches Montagnes (FM)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Franches Montagnes (also called the Freiberger) is a heavy warmblood horse breed.

The breed was created near the end of the 18th century, in the historic region of Jura in Switzerland, and was used for cavalry, agriculture, and pulling carriages. Starting from the 19th century, in order to add mass, athleticism, and temper to the breed, the Franches Montagnes was crossed with Breton, Anglo-Norman, and English Thoroughbred horses. Starting from the 20th century, the practice of crossbreeding was largely prohibited by the relevant breeding association, and only very few Anglo-Norman and Arabian stallions were allowed to be crossed with Franches Montagnes mares.

In the 1960s, when the demand for horses in agriculture decreased and the demand for riding horses increased, Franches Montagnes horses were crossbred again, this time with Swedish Warmbloods. This practice lasted until the 1990s, when it was decided that the Franches Montagnes was sufficiently refined, and that it should thereafter remain a pure breed, meaning that crossbreeding it is no longer allowed. Nevertheless, some breeders avoided crossing their Franches Montagnes with foreign breeds even during the 1960s, and maintained the purity of their herds.

These two different breeding policies, led breeders to divide the Franches Montagnes breed into two subtypes. The first is the Old Franches Montagnes, which has 4% or less foreign blood, and therefore has the original, heavier, conformation that all Franches Montagnes horses had prior to the 1960s. The second subtype if the Modern Franches Montagnes, which is any Franches Montagnes with more than 4% foreign blood. These horses usually have a lighter build, and are more suitable for athletic disciplines. Both of these subtypes can be found in Horse Isle. In order to maintain the purity of Old Franches Montagnes horses in Horse Isle, these horses cannot be crossed with Modern Franches Montagnes horses, nor with generic Franches Montagnes horses.

Today, Franches Montagnes horses are considered to be all-around horses, and they are usually used for Western ranch work, dressage, and driving. They are bred to be social, easy-going, and brave. The breeding-approval process includes behavioral tests, where the horse is exposed to a series of frightening incidents and is expected to remain calm. For example, such a test could require the horse to remain calm while they are taken away from their herd and left to stand alone at a distance. Another test could require the horse to walk over colorful fabrics laid on the ground.

Franches Montagnes horses come in the colors of bay, brown, chestnut, and, in extremely rare cases, black. The coat is sometimes mealy. While Franches Montagnes horses are bred to have as few white markings as possible, many Franches Montagnes horses have white markings on their faces and legs. Therefore, in Horse Isle, they can have white markings, but only to a certain extent. Horses with too many white markings, or markings that are too strong, will be heavily penalized. In addition, because of this restriction, the white-spotted and dominant-white genes don't exist in Franches Montagnes in Horse Isle, even though they can crop up in Franches Montagnes in real life (those horses are not eligible for breeding, though). Franches Montagnes horses stand between 14.3 and 15.3hh.


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