Boulogne District of France is the country of origin of the Boulonnais horse. It is an ancient draft horse that dates before the period of the Crusades. The main goal of two breeders that lived in the 11th century was to create a warhorse for the needs of the knights and will be strong, fast and agile, riding through the battles.
For this purpose, they crossed native heavy French stallions with German mares that were similar to modern-day Hanoverians. Later, during the 17th century that existing breed was crossed with Spanish Barb, Arabian and Andalusian bloodlines and as result was produced the modern type of the Boulonnais horse.
These horses were very large and valuable enjoying a great reputation. They were used for drawing blocks of building stone in Paris. Initially, there were two types of the Boulonnais horse the first was a large type, called Maree and still exists. The second type is extinct and was called Mareyeur which means fish art horse-.
The average height of the large Boulonnais type is between 15.3-16.3 hands and weighs from 650 to 750 kg. The smaller type stood 15.1-15.3 hands and weighed 550-650 kg. This type did not survive World War I and II, so as the larger type was nearly destroyed. At the beginning of the 20th century the population number of the breed was over 600 000, but today there are less than 1000 alive remaining in Europe.
The first imports into the United States were in the early 1900s. Many members of this breed were imported and registered in the National Norman Horse Association established in 1876 in the United States as a French draft horse. They shared the same name with other French draft horses, known as Norman horses, but later were considered as a separate breed, besides the Percheron and the Picardy horse.
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