11 Interesting Percheron Horse Breed Facts
Percherons are admired all over the globe for their strength, beauty, and elegance. They are a French draft horse breed that originated in the province of Perche, therefore the name of the breed. The gorgeous Percheron Horse stands out from other breeds due to a number of distinctive characteristics.
First of all, among all French draft breeds, Percherons are the most well-known and abundant. Although they were once employed in both agriculture and warfare, they are renowned for their adaptability. Percherons are exceptional at many things, including driving, riding, agricultural labor, and logging, because to their strength, endurance, and agility.
A Percheron’s well-muscled body, arching necks, large chests, neat legs, and straight heads make them easy to identify. These magnificent animals are also surprisingly clever and eager to put in long days of work.
Information on Percheron horses
- Percherons And Arabians Have Interacted
Percherons most likely descended from the Flemish “Great Horse” of the Middle Ages, according to Britannica. The contemporary Percheron’s forebears were widely utilized as war horses by the French cavalry in the 17th century.
The breed later gained popularity for hauling stagecoaches and farm machinery in the 18th and 19th centuries. Breeders gave the Percheron Arabian blood to improve its endurance, grace, and agility.
The breed is still influenced by its Arabian ancestry today. The Percheron acquired a deep chest, level croup, and clean feet from its Arabian forebears along with an active and vivacious disposition.
With time, the Percheron’s use returned to heavy-duty tasks like hauling loads and towing barges. In response, the breed got blood from draft-type animals to increase its toughness and durability. This was the final significant step in giving the Percheron its current appearance, which is one of strength and untamed grace.
- More Percherons live in America than anywhere else
The bulk of Percherons in the world now are found in America, despite the fact that this wonderful horse breed was developed in France. The first Percheron exports arrived in the United Kingdom in the 19th century, and from 1851, they gained popularity as draft animals.
In the United States alone, over 7,500 Percherons (5,000 stallions and 2,500 mares) were imported throughout the 19th century. Therefore, it is not unexpected that the Percheron Horse had the most impact on American farming of any heavy breed.
Before World War I, which abruptly ended the horse trade, Percherons’ exports from their native country rose dramatically. The United States really brought horses back to France in support of the war since the breed was a key source of power at the time.
Seventy percent of American purebred draft horses in the 1930s were Percherons. They were mostly utilized for farming and transportation because many people could not afford cars at the time.
In the United States, Percheron registration increased by more than double during the Great Depression (1929–1933). The breed organization became the largest draft horse registration in the world as a result of this growth.
There are currently about 300,000 Percherons alive in the US alone. Around 1,050 new horses are registered annually by the Percheron Horse Association of America, which has members in all 50 states.
- On two separate occasions, percherons were in danger.
There used to be fewer breeds, but today there are many and they are stable. In the 19th century, percherons were on the verge of extinction, which inspired the creators of the Jean Le Blanc stud in France to work to preserve the breed.
The Percheron has continued to exist into the contemporary day because to the stud’s diligent efforts. Every live Percheron may be traced back to the horses of the stud since Jean Le Blanc essentially developed the breed from scratch.
Just after World War II ended, the Percheron Horse faced peril for a second time. Draft horse breeds saw a sharp fall in demand as a result of automation and inexpensive petroleum. One of the lowest periods in the history of the breed occurred in 1954 when just 85 new Percheron Horses were registered in the United States.
Fortunately, the Percheron started to recover quickly, and in 1988, the registration registered 1,008 new horses. By 2009, it had increased to 2,500, and it continues to hover around 1,000 now.
- At Disney World, Percherons Pull Carriages
You may recall the stunning horse-drawn carriages at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, if you have ever visited there. In the park, many of the carriages are really drawn by Percheron horses.
The horses at Disney World have undergone particular training to be calm and sociable while being able to withstand crowds and loud noises. The Percheron Horses at the park are from all across America and usually begin driving at the age of 6 to 10 years old.
Additionally, 30% of the horses at Disneyland Paris are percherons, and they are used to drive trams on the park’s main street. These gentle giants are a well-liked option for special appearances, pulling carriages in city centers, and marching in parades across the world.
- In Chicago, Percheron horses were used to deliver beer
The Pabst Brewery in Chicago employed a team of domesticated Percheron Horses to drive the mills and carry beer until the 1800s. One of the most well-known Percherons in the country was these animals. At the 1904 World’s Fair, the Pabst family even engaged in competition with them.
Nowadays, few breweries still employ dray horses. Horses that transported beer and other things on a flatbed wagon without sides were sometimes referred to as “dray horses.” A few breweries in the UK, like Hook Norton or Wadworth, still utilize dray horses for promotional purposes.
- Perch eagles In America, they were once known as Norman-Percherons
While “Percheron” is the breed’s current name officially, it wasn’t always so. The Norman-Percheron Horse was the name given to the breed when breeders first convened in Chicago to create the first studbook.
The first purebred livestock organization in the United States was founded in 1876 by the Norman-Percheron Horse Association. A year later, the word “Norman” was removed from the title.
The organization was reorganized in 1905 as the Percheron Society of America. When the group changed its name to the Percheron Horse Association of America in 1934, the present Percheron studbook was created.
- The Most Popular Color Is Gray
In the Percheron Hose breed, gray is the most prevalent color. This is because around 1820, two gray Arabian stallions had an impact on the breed.
Breeders didn’t pick this hue by accident, though. Farmers liked lighter-colored horses because they were easier to spot and could work later in the day.
Black is another typical hue in the Percheron breed, in addition to gray. Although the United States registry also recognizes bay, roan, and chestnut horses, the rest of the world does not. Additionally, although little white markings on the head and legs are fine, excessive white markings are undesired in the breed.
- Percherons Are Fit For Both Draft Work And Riding
Percheron horses are surprisingly adaptable considering that they were initially intended for draft labour. They have demonstrated skill in jumping and western disciplines in addition to riding effectively in harness and while mounted.
Percherons are still employed for their original function in the modern world. They are particularly well-liked as forestry horses since they are more effective than equipment at navigating difficult terrain. Percherons are also graceful carriage horses and excel in driving competitions and for tourism.
Because of the Arabian breed’s influence, percherons are unusually spirited for their stature. Additionally, they are regarded as knowledgeable, rapid learners that can easily adjust to novel situations. So it seems sense that Percherons have achieved success in a number of equestrian sports, like as jumping, dressage, and Western riding.
- A Percheron Can Consume Up To 30 Pounds Of Hay A Day Considering their enormous stature, Percherons are obviously large eaters. A single Percheron may eat 5 pounds (2.27kg) of grain and 30 pounds (13.6 kg) of hay every day to fuel their engine.
While this may seem like a lot, percherons really require less food than the normal horse in terms of their size. Percherons are easy-keepers, which means they can sustain their body weight on a small amount of food, like many other breeds of draft horses can.
- George in the Jungle’s Percheron Horse Is Owned by Actor Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser is the delighted owner of a Percheron horse named Pecas. Brendan Fraser is well known for his parts in George in the Jungle (1997) and The Mummy series. The gray gelding was first brought home by Fraser from the set of the historical fiction drama Texas Rising (2015).
Pecas was tormented by the other horses on set all the time, yet he never retaliated. Fraser decided he had to do something after witnessing Pecas being ridiculed by the other horses constantly, so he brought Pecas home.
Griffin, the autistic son of Pecas and Fraser, and they have subsequently developed a close relationship.
Watch this lovely breed dance below while being ridden.
11. Percherons Were Used To Improve Other Horse Breeds
The Percheron breed has a long history of being admired for its ideal conformation, pleasant temperament, and strong work ethic. As a result, Percherons contributed to the development of various current horse breeds. Prime examples of the Percheron’s positive effect are the Vladimir Heavy Draft from Russia and the Ardennes Horse from Belgium.
Additionally, crosses between Andalusians and Percheron Horses led to the development of the Spanish-Norman Horse. Additionally, percherons have increased the size and stamina of working stock horses in the Falkland Islands and northern Australia. In Australia, Percherons and Thoroughbreds are occasionally mated together to produce powerful police horses.
Greater working and competition horses can be produced by crossing Percherons with light horse breeds. Percherons are frequently crossed with warmbloods in the UK to produce large, well-balanced horses that are heavy hunters.