The Comtois horse is an old breed and its country of origin is France. It has been developed in France, initially brought during the 4th century from northern Germany by the Burgundians (a Germanic tribe). Since the 6th century these horses were bred at the Franche-Comté area, which is named by, in the Jura Mountains, where France is boarding with Switzerland and are still remaining in the same area since their original introduction.
Throughout the centuries they have been used in many purposes. The Comtois horse is a light draft horse, so it was and still is suitable for agriculture work. During the medieval times horses of the breed were used in wars, as cavalry and artillery horses. They were used by King Louis XIV, by the end of the 17th century and one century later by the French political and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte. In the early 16th century, a new era of the breed’s history started, widely using it by breeders to improve other bloodlines. At that time they were crossed with the Burgandy horses. Later, in the 19th century bloodlines of other draft breeds were added into the Comtois horse as the Norman, Boulonnais and Percheron. Most recently, since 1905 Comtois mares were crossbred with small Ardennais sires in order to emerge a stronger horse with better legs.
The physical characteristics of the Comtois horse are described as a light draft horse with a large and square head, alert eyes and small ears. The head is set on a straight and short neck; the body is stocky and powerful with a deep girth; the chest is deep and wide; and the back is long and straight. The hindquarters are muscular and the legs are short, but strong with nicely shaped feet and little feathering on the lower legs, good joints and clean tendons and some is sickle hocked. The mane and tail are thick, flaxen and abundant.
The average height of the Comtois horse is between 14.2 – 16 hands and they can weigh between 500-600 kg, though, some stallions can reach up to 760 kg. They can appear in various shades of chestnut, also known as Alezan, and dark chocolate brown or bay. Contrary of this dark coat color, the mane and tail are always light and flaxen.
Even tough the mechanization grew during the 19th century; the Comtois horses still had a great role in the everyday farm working, as well in the fields throughout the Franche-Comté. They are used to transport timber in the forests and to work in the hilly vineyards in the Arbois area. They are also great riding horses and bred in France for the horsemeat industry.
The first Comtois studbook was opened in 1919, in Besancon, nine years after the First Comtois Breeder’s Competition, which still exists. Today there are approximately 850 stallions and 13000 mares registered and they are considered to be the most abundant and second large breed in numbers, next to the Breton draft horse in their native France.
Solve a horse puzzle of a kind, strong and good natured horse breed, which has a very long lifespan. Use the mouse to replace the pieces of the jigsaw and get a complete image of this breed that has excellent endurance qualities, surefooted, hard worker, able to work in rugged mountainous terrains and well balanced. They can be more or less quiet, easy to train, flexible, sociable, full of energy and always ready to please, so there is a Comtois that can suit everyone