Selle Francais Horse Facts And Information – Breed Profile

The Selle Francais horse is a sport horse from France. This French breed originated in the 19th century when the local Norfolk trotter and Thoroughbred stallions were bred with local mares. The horse was officially designated as the Selle Français horse in 1958 when a single stud book was created after merging various breeds.

These horses are also referred to as the French saddle horses. The horse is well known for its success in show jumping. It is also used as a riding horse. The horse has been exported to various countries with the United States and the UK having their own stud books. 

Selle Francais Horse


The origins of this horse are traced back to Normandy in the 19th century. French breeders bred the native stock mares with French trotter and Thoroughbred horses. The developed horse breeds were known as ‘half-blood’ or demi sang horses.

The half-blood horses include the Anglo-Norman, the Vendeen, and the Charolais. These horses were found in many regions throughout France. The horses were thus named after the regions where they were from.

The Selle Francais horse was created with the merger of these breeds to form the first stud book. This was done in 1958 to create a horse suitable for sport and leisure uses. The horse created was naturally diverse in terms of its genes. 

This was because local horses in each region had been crossed with Anglo Arabian, Thoroughbreds, and other horses to create the Anglo-Norman horses of those regions. 

The Selle Francais breeding is regulated by the National Association of French Saddle Horses in 2003. Normandy is still the center of breeding in Europe.


The distinguishing feature of the Selle Francais or Cheval demi sand du centre is its athletic nature. Bred for use in sports, the horse is extremely strong. It is a powerful horse that is elegant in appearance, which is needed since the horse is used in show events.

The horse is also known for its intelligent nature. It is also an easy keeper, make it easy for its owner to maintain. They are fast learners by nature, which make them a great horse for leisure riding use.


Since the horse is an easy keeper, it does not require any special diet and normal horse food is sufficient. Grass and hay are the main constituents of this diet. It needs grains to give it the nutrients needed for maintaining its strength.

Even though it is a large and powerful horse, it does not require too much feed. Overfeeding should be avoided. The horse needs adequate exercise to be fit.

Breeding And Uses

The horse is bred mainly for its use as a sport horse. The breeding of this horse is done in Normandy, where it was originally developed. It is also bred in France. The UK, and the US. The horse has played a key role in the breeding of the Holsteiner, Oldenburger, and Zangersheide horses

The stud book for this horse in 2003 was divided into two sections. One for horses with two registered parents and the other for those with one parent. This was done away with in 2009 and only one stud book is maintained.


The Selle Francais horse’s height ranges from 15.1 hands (61 inches or 155 cm) to 17.3 hands (71 inches or 170 cm). The range is fairly broad because there are no set standards for this breed.

The horse weighs around 1,300 pounds or 590 kgs.

Breeds Constituting the Selle Francais Horse

The breeds that constitute the Selle Francais include the Anglo-Arab horse, the French Trotter, the Thoroughbred, and the Anglo-Norman. Many other native horse mares have also been used in the breeding of this horse.

The horse is considered to be very diverse genetically because of the various breed used. Of all these, genetically the Anglo-Norman is more prominent.


This horse breed is usually of solid color. The most common color is the chestnut color. These horses are also found in other colors like bay, grey, and roan.

What Do These Horses Look Like?

The horse has an athletic body that makes it suited for use in sports. The forehead is broad. It has a straight profile or slightly convex. They have a long neck which is quite strong. The back of this horse is straight.

It has a long croup with a deep chest. The horse’s shoulders are sloped. It has strong hindquarters. The joints are wide, and the legs powerful, which gives it the ability to do well in show jumping and other such events.

The horse has hard hooves. The entire body is strong and the overall appearance resembles a Thoroughbred. 

What Are They Used For?

The Selle Francais horses have been bred for use in shows. They are used in dressage and eventing. The horses take part in equestrian events and have done exceedingly well. In 2013, the stud book was rated the third-best in the world for show jumping.

The horse was won medals at the Summer Olympics and also at the Equestrian Games. A Selle Francais Baloubet du Rouet won the World cup for show jumping three times. The horses have also done well at Grand Prix events.

Quidam de revel, Quito de Baussy, and Rochet Rouge are among the well-known horses that have performed well at events. 

Where Do the These Horses Live?

The horse originated in Normandy where it is still bred today. The horse has been bred in the UK and in the USA. 

What Is The Horse’s Lifespan?

This breed of horse is healthy and lives for a long time. On average the horse lives for 30 years, which is a long duration for sport horses. The horse is known for being an easy keeper, which combined with its long life makes it an asset for owners.

The Selle Francais is a healthy horse that does not have any serious health issues. Colic and laminitis, which is a common problem for most horses is an issue that needs to be monitored. If the horse is made to jump over three feet, then it is strongly advised to use protection to prevent injuries. 

The Speed Of This Horse

This breed of horse can run fairly fast. It is used for show jumping and events, which is why it needs to be able to run fast. The horse’s body structure and legs are strong making it possible for the horse to run and jump fast. 

How Much Do They Cost?

This breed is used mainly for sport. It is also used for leisure as a riding horse. Since it is used for sports and events, it is trained well and the training impacts its price. The cost of the horse would vary based on the age, gender, and training of the horse.

A well trained horse can be around $30,000 to $47,000. The average cost of this horse would be around $17,000.

Are Selle Francais Horses Suitable For Use By Beginners?

This horse breed has been bred for the purpose of using in events. Since beginners cannot ride horses at such events, this horse is not well suited for beginners. The horse is large and is very athletic. Managing this horse is not very easy. This is why those who have some experience riding horses should try riding this horse.

The horse is intelligent, smart, and lively. It is full of energy and eager to please its master. It is amiable for training, which makes it ideally suited for use as a sports horse.

People who have worked with larger breeds of horses would be more comfortable handling this horse.

Conclusion / Summary

The Selle Francais horse is a breed that was developed in Normandy. The objective behind developing this breed was to create a strong and athletic horse that could be used as a sport horse. Accordingly, this horse has been used for sports. It is used extensively in show jumping and other events.

The horse breeding in France is regulated by the National Association of French Saddle Horses. It was only in 1958 that the selle français stud book was created after merging regional horse breeds into this breed. 

The horse has participated in the Olympics, Grand Prix, and many other Equestrian events where it has done well. The horse can also be used for leisure as a riding horse. Since it is large and very strong, it is recommended that only those having experience handling large horses should work with this horse.

It is a large and athletic horse with powerful legs. This gives it the ability to run fast and jump well. The horse is intelligent and can be trained easily. This horse is bred mainly in France where the stud book is maintained. The horse is also available in the UK and the USA where there are different stud books managed.

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