Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Percheron   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Percheron is an old draft horse breed, whose exact origins are unknown. It is named after Le Perch province in France, where it was bred on a large scale since the 8th century.

Originally, Percherons were bred to serve as war horses. They were popular in the Middle Ages, because they were strong enough to carry a knight in full armor, and charge forward while covered in their own set of armor. When the demand for strong horses for agricultural work overcame the demand for heavy cavalry horses, the Percheron was bred to be even larger and stronger, with this new goal in mind.

In the 17th century, Percherons were used mainly for pulling heavy mail and stagecoaches. They were ideal for this type of job, because their strength and stamina allowed them to perform these demanding tasks for long periods of time. This practice ended after the invention of the train, and Percherons were assigned the new task of pulling omnibuses inside cities.

Until 1839, Percherons were found only in Europe. However, in 1839, a Percheron stallion named Diligence was imported to North America, and sired over 400 foals, of which three became the foundation stock of Percheron horses in America.

Over the next hundred years, Percherons were very popular in the USA. Their golden age ended in the late 1940's, when modernization, especially in agriculture, made them redundant. In the 1950's and the early 1960's the number of Percherons in the USA dwindled dramatically, and the breed would have gone extinct if it wasn't for dedicated farmers, most notably the Amish, who continued to breed them. Percherons regained their popularity in the late 1960's, this time as horses used for recreational activities and for pulling snow sleds.

Percherons are very muscular horses, whose height ranges between 15hh and 19hh. In Europe, only grey and black Percherons are allowed to be registered. In the USA, however, bay, chestnut, brown, and roan are also accepted.

Coats & Height:

Colors: usually black or grey, more rarely bay, brown, and chestnut.
Additionals: flaxen, roan, dark mane and tail. The coat is always solid.
Height: 15hh to 19hh

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