Percherons are known as one of the bigger equine breeds. These gentle creatures can stand between 15 to 19 hands and weigh around 2600 lbs. One of the many reasons that they are bred is for their good temperament. While being so big these horses are known to be smart, hardworking, as well as powerful. They are known for their big muscling in their legs making them look tough. Despite their size, they tend to have good conformation. When looking at the conformation, people look for a round hip, visible muscling throughout the body, wide chest, long croup, and have balance. The coloring of these horses originally was
predominantly grey and white. Today we have a range of colors such as grey, white, black, sorrel, bay, roans, as well as other coat colors. When looking at the Percheron, the most defining features are the neck, eye, forehead, and face shape. While they will have some markings, too much
white is considered undesirable. The difference between the mares and stallions is that the mares will have a more feminine look to their face than the stallions. Due to the way they carry their head with character, some think this is a clear tie to their Arabian lines.
The first original lines of the Percheron is still unclear, but their breed is known to be tied back to Le Perche, France. In the 17th century the breed was widely known in Europe. During this time horses were used for pulling carts and coaches. By the 19th century the breed was altered for war. A horse by the name of Jean LeBlanc was the first horse foaled after this alteration and the Percheron line now ties back to him. When the breed was first started they were mainly white and grey so that knights could see the horses in the dark. That way they could easily find the right kind of horse to pull. By the 19th century, the breed was being transported to the U.S. These horses became popular in the U.S. as well because farmers could use them on the farms and they can be used on the streets. By 1876 the Percheron Association was created and so was the first stud book for this breed. During WWII, the tractor was invented making the need for horses to diminish. By the renaissance the breed grew because they became useful for working in the snow where tractors would fail. After this Percherons were famous for hayrides, sleighs, and parades. Today these horses compete in fields like this such as hitching.
Since they are like draft horses, they have the similar characteristics and health. One of the weaknesses of this breed is that they are susceptible to the glycogen synthase 1 form of Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy. They are known to conduct scratches due to their feathers when it gets soaked and caked in soil during the wet season. The horses will experience muscles stiffness and weakness. One of their many strengths is that they are very versatile. Percherons have more agility than most draft horses. They can be trained to do anything from pulling carts to jumping. Due to their big nature, they can pull heavy loads and work long hours. They can adjust to different environments and conditions. To most people these giants are known as easy keepers and do not have a lot of health risks.
This information was found at www.percheronhorse.org/