There are some very beautiful horses in France and none more so that the lovely horses of the Camargue. This ancient breed is indigenous to the area and they are truly hardy little horses that live in the wild marshlands of the Rhone Delta. I was very lucky a few years ago to see the horses running freely when I visited a friend in the Camargue. When they are born, the foals are always either black or dark brown but as they grow up they turn grey and become the wonderful romantic grey horses of the Camargue. These horses although small in height are incredibly strong and carry the ‘cowboys’ of the Camargue known as the ‘gardians’ as they muster the herds or round up bulls in the area. It is a wonderful sight which I will always remember and would highly recommend anyone who loves horses to visit the Camargue just to witness these spectacular events.
I grew up with horses and have spent all my life around them. One of my favourite breeds happens to be French. Le Selle Francais has to be one of the most important breeds of horses in the world. This magnificent horse is powerful and very willing. The breed itself does cover various types of horse in France as they are used for different disciplines being sports such as show jumping, eventing, dressage. They are used in horse racing too but they are wonderful horses for amateur riders as well. For centuries this wonderful breed has been admired and loved by horse lovers all over the world.
Northern France boasts a marvellous breed of horse called the Breton which is a draft horse ideal for farm work as they are incredibly strong. I love to see old photos of these heavy draft horses ploughing fields in days gone by. Although they are a heavy horse with gorgeous feathered legs, they are really quite beautiful and very gentle creatures considering their size. For a long time, the Breton breed of horse has been crossbred and they produce very good mules.
We cannot forget the superb strength and pride of the Percheron. La Perche as this breed of horse is called in the north west of France is simply a superb example of a working horse. For twelve centuries the Percheron has endured as a strong yet docile working animal that proved invaluable during the first World War.
When it comes to strength, the little Mérens ponies which are also called Ariègeoise de Mérens or Mérenguais, are wonderfully powerful little animals. This gorgeous breed resembles the British Fell pony and is an ancient native breed from the Pyrénée region of France. They are always black with extremely pretty heads. They are also incredibly strong and farmers in the South West of France used them as working ponies, ploughing the land or hauling minerals and timber. They are very sure footed which is why they are also used for trekking through the mountains of the Pyrénées. The great thing about this breed is that they are becoming more and more popular the world over ensuring the breed continues to exist.