Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Mule Breed: Poitevin Mule   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Poitevin Mule is a French draft mule breed that is known for its exceptional strength. It is created by crossing a Poitou jack (male donkey) with a Poitevin (Mulassier) mare.

During the 16th century, French breeders in the Poitou Province started developing a new breed of a draft horse called Poitevin (see 'Poitevin' for more info). The main goal was to cross mares of this breed with the strong Poitou Donkey, which already roamed the marshes of Poitou for centuries (see 'Poitou Donkey' for more information.) The resulting mule, called 'Poitevin Mule,' proved to be incredibly strong, and became known for its strength and endurance throughout France and nearby countries.

Over the next three centuries, breeders in Poitou started breeding as many mules as possible, with thousands of Poitevin Mules being exported from the province on a yearly basis. During the two World Wars, thousands of Poitou mules served as pack animals on the battlefields, and during peacetime they worked mainly on farms.

This changed during the second half of the 20th century, when the mechanization of agriculture and transportation left mules all redundant. From a breed that used to roam Southern and Western Europe in its thousands, the Poitevin Mule, along with the Poitou Donkey and the Poitevin, nearly disappeared.

Conservation efforts, aimed at saving the Poitou Donkey and the Poitevin, also brought to the preservation of the Poitevin Mule, which is still being bred today but in small numbers. It is found primarily in France, and is used for draft work, and recreational riding and driving.

The conformation of Poitevin Mules combines the massive head, large ears, and low withers of their donkey sire, with the wide body and relatively long legs with thick joints of their dam. The hair of the mane and tail is thin, and the fetlocks have some light feathering to them.

Unlike the Poitou Donkey that is known for its long, matted coat, Poitevin Mules have a regular, short, 'horse' coat. Therefore, breeders in Horse Isle should pick smooth-coated Poitou jacks as breeding stock, and avoid jacks who have a woolen or a matted coat.

Poitevin Mules come in the colors of bay, black, brown, chestnut, dun, grey, roan, and heterozygous-cream dilutes. The coat is always solid. Poitevin Mules usually stand between 15.3hh and 16.1hh, but some can exceed 16.3hh. In Horse Isle, they stand between 15hh and 17.1hh.

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