French Ardennais

By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 2, 2010

The French Ardennais or the Ardennes breed is one of the oldest in France. It has mostly been used for farm work and pulling heavy loads, and so is common in the farmlands of France and Belgium.


Physical Characteristics


Having the body of a good draft horse, the French Ardennais have a very strong build.  The adult French Ardennais weighs about 1500 to 2000 pounds. Its coat comes in bay, brown or gray. It has a short tail but a very healthy mane. Its head is straight in outline with vivacious eyes and small, pointed ears. Its neck is quite broad while its shoulders are deep. The body shows strength, depth and brilliance. The legs are sturdy and the hooves are hard. It is an average sized horse which stands 13-15 hands high (52-60 inches, 132-152 centimeters).


Personality and Temperament


The French Ardennais is apt for hard labor. It is seen in France and Belgium, carrying heavy sacks of farm produce as well as pulling carts on very shaky ground all day. These horses exemplify great endurance, superb determination and are very docile and amiable. They can easily be trained and can work for long hours without any supplementary assistance. Like any other farm animal, the French Ardennais is used for meat production.


History and Background


The Ardennes breed is well-known for its ability to carry heavy objects. Its history can be traced from the time of the Roman invasions to Napoleon’s Grand Armée and beyond, when these horses were utilized to carry heavy weapons and pull wagons. This breed’s contribution to history is remarkable, from combat service to agricultural purposes.

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