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Breton history

The Breton originated in the province of Bretagne (or Brittany) in the northwest of France. A demanding climate and land of rather poor quality characterizes this area. Such and environment contributed to the creation of a horse possessing qualities of great strength and durability. Brittany has a history of breeding distinguished horses, which goes back to the Middle Ages. The Breton horse is the result of evolution over hundreds of years, and a long period of selection carried out by breeders from old varieties of native horses.

Horses have been present in the Breton mountains from thousands of years; however, the debate over how they first arrived there still brews today. It was in the Middle Ages, around the time of the Crusades, that the Breton horse became sought after by military leaders, in part due to its comfortable gait. At that time the breed stood at about 14 hands. During the seventeenth, it was this horse that was sent to New France (Canada) by the king of France and the Canadian Hors still shows its influence.

Throughout the centuries, the Breton was crossbred with various foreign and native horses including the Boulonnais, Percheron and Ardennais as the requirements for horses changed. In the nineteenth century the Breton was crossed with the Norfolk Trotter which resulted in the most distinguished type of Breton, the Postier Breton. By 1930, crossbreeding was abandoned and selection within the breed has been the basic method of improving the breed since.

In recent decades, it has been a common tendency to increase the size of a draft horse to gain more power from it. The Breton, however, is an exception. The smart trot and ability to survive and work under often demanding conditions have led to the preservation of the Breton’s purity as a breed. Crossbreeding, successfully achieved with other breeds, reduced the unique qualities of the Breton. Buyers from such diverse areas as Africa and Japan converge on Brittany to buy horses for their native areas. When crossbreeding is attempted using Bretons, it is usually to improve or create another breed like the Freiberger breed of Switzerland

The Breton was originally bred in the four districts of Brittany, but now has spread far beyond its birthplace. Today, Breton horses are to be found all over France, particularly in the lower mountains of the Central Mountains and Pyrenees. Due to its quality and popularity, The Breton is the most numerous of the draft horses in France and has been widely exported around the world.

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Bashkir Curly Basotho Pony / Basuto Pony Basque Pony Batak Pony Belgian
Bhotia Pony Black Forest Boer Bosnian Pony Boulonnais
Brandenburg Breton Brumby Buckskin Budyonny
Burmese Pony Byelorussian Harness Camargue Campolina Canadian
Carpathian Pony Carthusian Caspian horse Cayuse Cheju
Chilean Corralero Chincoteague Pony Chinese Guoxia Cleveland Bay Clydesdale
Colorado Ranger Horse Connemara Pony Criollo (Uruguay) Crioulo Dales Pony
Danube Dartmoor Pony Deliboz Dole Trotter or Dole Gudbrandsdal Don, Russian Don
Dongola Dülmen Pony Dutch Draft Dutch Warmblood Egyptian
Eriskay Pony Estonian Native Exmoor Pony Falabella Fell Pony
Finnhorse Finnish Fjord horse Florida Cracker Frederiksborg
French Trotter Friesian Galician Pony Galiceno Garrano
Gelderlander Gidran Gotland Pony Groningen Gypsy Vanner horse
Hackney Hackney pony Haflinger Hanoverian Highland Pony
Hokkaido Holsteiner Hucul pony Iberian, encompassing the Andalusian, Alter Real, Lusitano and crosses Icelandic
Irish Draught Irish Horse Java Pony Jutland Kabardian or Kabardin
Karabair Karabakh Kathiawari Kazakh Pony Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse
Kiger Mustang Kiso Kladruber Knabstrup Konik
Kustanair Landais Pony Latvian Harness Horse (Standard and Light Type) Lithuanian Heavy Draft Lipizzan / Lippizzaner
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Breton".
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