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The Boulonnais horse is an elegant French breed known for its unique white marble coat. It is for this reason this horse is also called a white marble horse.
Boulonnais horses are the best draft horses, hence used by the breeders to improve the characteristics of different draft breeds. They are sociable and lively animals, and famous for their smooth and energetic gaits. They are widely used for field works, general riding, and pulling carriages.
If you are looking for information on Boulonnais horses, you are on the right page. Read on to find new facts about the breed.
The history of the white marble horse dates back to the crusaders time.
These horses are believed to have originated in the Boulogne district, France, where they stayed along the Pas–de-Calais coasts. Julius Caesar, the Roman emperor transported them from the region before invading England.
The Boulonnais horses are good-looking able horses and have always been a favorite of ordinary people. The breed initially featured slim and heavier horses. Eventually, all these horses were crossbred and reduced to one, and that’s the modern-day Boulonnais horse you come across.
Later, the Spanish occupation of Flanders brought the Andalusian and Oriental blood to these heavy draft horse areas. During this time, the breeding program gained pace, and the crossbreeding added style and further refinement to the French breed. The other breeds used to crossbreed are the Spanish barb, Asian and Arabian horses.
These ancestors are believed to have greatly influenced the Boulonnais breed. Their classy build, silky coat, refined head, speed, and thick mane- all these traits can be attributed to the breed’s ancestry.
During the 17th century, the white marble horse earned a reputation for being the best pullers. The dealers from Haute-Normandie and Picardie, who came to buy animals for various purposes, admired this breed, and they were in particular praised for pulling fish delivery carts from Boulogne to Paris.
During the early 1900s, the Boulonnais horses were imported to the USA. Unfortunately, many horses of this breed died during World War II, leaving them almost extinct. These heavy draft horses however grew in numbers in the late 1970s and were the top pick for horse meat.
We need to mention a famous Boulonnais breeder, Emile Degardin here. It is certainly noteworthy.
Emile is a charming and delightful man who is passionate about the Boulonnais breed. He is 97 years of age and still continues to work for the future of these horses.
During the Second World War, Emile hid his horses in the forest and kept them on the move to protect them from the Germans. It was not easy since the battles were mostly fought on the breeding grounds of these white-coated horses. Boulonnais lovers are more than grateful to Emile and admire his feat that is no ordinary.
Today, there are less than 1000 horses in Europe, and most of their population is concentrated in France. The French Government is undertaking active breeding programs to preserve this adaptable draft horse breed.
Boulonnais today are found in many northwest areas of France, including the Pas-de-Calais, Somme, and Oise.
The Boulonnais is a large, heavy horse and absolutely looks stunning. It has a short and distinctive head, a wide forehead, straight profile, and small ears. The horse has a gracefully arched thick and muscular neck, wide chest, and prominent withers. It features a straight back, strong legs, well-developed rib cages, and clean joints.
The luxurious mane and tail is another notable feature. The Boulonnais has a fine skin texture too, that allows you to see the veining. These horses stand 15-16.3 hands tall and weigh around 1320 pounds.
The Boulonnais horse is energetic and heavy, but don’t let these features make you think it is hard to work with.
White marble horses are social and active and make wonderful companions. They are very gentle, so riders with the least experience levels can also effortlessly handle this breed.
The heavy draft Boulonnais horses are strong, capable, and attractive. They have a willing personality, and the ability to take on varied tasks with ease.
These horses are also versatile and easily trainable. They are commonly found as workhorses, show horses, driving, and riding horses. The common uses are dressage, eventing, and jumping. It is for these reasons these horses are just ideal for anybody.
Typically, white marble horses are gray in color. However, chestnut and black colors are also accepted by the breed registries in France.
Bay and black were the commonly found colors back in the 18th century. But as their numbers declined, experts believed the dominant gray gene in these horses resulted in the other colors becoming rare.
The white marble horse requires a general horse diet which includes hay, grains, and grass. It doesn’t need any special diet.
So, if you are looking to adopt a horse that is easy to take care of and train, the Boulonnais horse is a good choice.
Typically, white marble horses are healthy. They are not prone to horse illnesses commonly found in other draft horses. However, as a Boulonnais owner, you need to regularly monitor your horse to ensure he doesn’t contract diseases and stays healthy. If appropriately cared for, these horses can live up to 30 years.
These warm-blooded animals can adapt to cold and hot conditions while they can take care of themselves. They adore exercises, so you need to provide your Boulonnais horse with abundant space to allow him to stretch, run and play. Keep him engaged, as these horses easily get bored.
We suggest you consult the vet at regular intervals and get your heavy draft horse checked. The professional can detect potential health issues if any and provide early treatment, avoiding serious issues later on.
Grooming might be hard because the Boulonnais is large. However, grooming offers an opportunity for you to bond with your Boulonnais, and you can take pride once you groom this heavy horse.
If your heavy draft horse has gotten dirty and you think a basic brushing won’t clean him up, choose a top-quality equine shampoo and give him a refreshing bath. A dandy brush, curry comb, or a shedding blade however is sufficient for regular cleaning purposes.
To get rid of the loose hair, debris, and dirt from the mane and tail, you can use a top-quality gentle brush. We advise you to focus particularly on the mane and tail since they are thick and can get tangled.
Slowly detangle the hair with your hands and brush, and if required tie the hair. Once the grooming is done, the mane and tail look luxurious and healthy.
Use a wet soft cloth to clean the areas around the ears and eyes. Be careful though, these are delicate areas.
A hoof-pick helps you remove the dirt and debris collected in the hooves.
The Boulonnais breed is calm and easily gets along with humans. These horses are quiet, obedient and one of the rare reserved breeds that work to please their owners. They are well-mannered and can be trained in a very short time.
The price of the Boulonnais horse, like any other horse, depends upon its age, health, training received, and show records. Generally, the horse costs around $4000 however it may reach up to $35000-$40000. If the horse features extraordinary skills, you may need to pay even more.
We feel owning a Boulonnais is worth it. The elegant and powerful horse is unmatched and stands apart from the rest of the draft horse breeds.
Is Boulonnais For Beginners?
Yes! Since the Boulonnais horse is gentle and very kind, anyone interested to learn to ride or domesticate horses can opt for this breed. It has unique, unmistakable characteristics, and features a docile personality.
Beginners with basic knowledge about the Boulonnais can buy or stay around the horse without fear.
The heavy Boulonnais is France’s pride. White marble horses are a blend of beauty and strength, and can literally turn heads wherever they go. They are the center of attraction at shows. These horses are largely bought for breeding purposes.
The beautiful Boulonnais horses appear carved in fascinating white marble. These animals are extremely cool and one-of-a-kind. They are widely popular in France and most breeding programs take place in the nation. They are the top choice when it comes to buying horses in the U.S too.
The French heavy draft horses are agile and known for their stylish, smooth gaits. Check out these horses if you are looking for a robust yet obedient pet.
There’s a whole world of horse breeds out there to explore! Discover and find out more information by checking out our horse breed guides.