The Percheron is a breed of draft horses that originated in the Perche valley in northern France. Percherons are usually gray or black in color. They are well-muscled, and known for their intelligence and willingness to work. Although their exact origins are unknown, the ancestors of the breed were present in the valley by the 17th century. They were originally bred for use as a war horse. Over time, they began to be used for pulling stage coaches, and later for agriculture and hauling heavy goods. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Arabian blood was added to the breed. In the late 19th century, exports of Percherons from France to the United States and other countries rose exponentially, and in 1893 the first purely Percheron stud book was created in France.
After going through various incarnations and stud books, the current US Percheron registry was created in 1934. In , the breed was used extensively by the British. In the 1930s, Percherons accounted for 70% of the draft horse population in the United States, but their numbers declined substantially after . However, the population began to recover, and as of 2009, around 2,500 horses are registered annually in the United States alone. Today, the breed is still used extensively for draft work, and in France they are used for food. They have been crossed with several light horse breeds, such as the Criollo, to produce horses for range work and competition. Purebred Percherons are used for forestry work and pulling carriages, as well as under saddle work, including competition in English riding disciplines such as show jumping.read more on Wikipedia
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