What is a Percheron Horse?

Percheron Horse in Driving Tack

The Percheron horse is an extremely popular breed of draft horse. They were originally bred for their intelligence and wiliness to work. While bred to drive and pull, the Percheron horse is also gaining in popularity as a riding horse. It is not uncommon to see a Percheron or Percheron cross horse competing in disciplines such as show jumping, fox hunting, dressage, and eventing. The Percheron horse has also gained in popularity as a great trail and pleasure horse due to its good nature and calm temperament. 


The Percheron horse was first developed in the Huisne river valley of France. This area was originally part of the Perche province, which is how the Percheron horse got its name. Arabian stallions were crossed with the native horses of the area. Originally, the Percheron was smaller than the horse we know today. They typically stood between 15 and 16 hands and were grey in color. They were a favorite horse for the armored knight. When armored knights faded out of the picture the Percheron horse was bred more for the ability to pull heavy loads, thus resulting in a heavier breed of horse. When stage coaches were replaced by trains the breed was bred to work the land, which resulted in an even heavier horse. Today the Percheron horse is a draft breed that is bred to pull large and heavy loads, however they have become increasingly popular as riding horse.


Typically a Percheron horse will stand between 16.2 and 17.3 hands, however they can range from as small as 15 hands to as tall as 19 hands. They are usually grey or black in coloring, however in the US sometimes they can be roan, bay, or chestnut. Many Percherons may have white leg and face markings, but registries do not like an excessive amount of white. Their heads are large with a straight profile, big eyes, and small ears. Their chest and shoulders are typically large, heavily muscled, and wide in order to pull great loads. Their bone density is very thick and they are overall very well-muscled. When you look at a Percheron horse your overall impression is that of power and strength. Their temperament is typically calm, proud, and willing. They are considered easy-keeper and work well in a variety of climates and terrains. Overall, the Percheron is intelligent, willing, powerful, calm, proud, and a good worker. 

So if you are looking for a strong, powerful, and good natured horse you have found it in the Percheron, whether you are looking to drive or ride.


For Percheron owners finding a correct fitting saddle can be a difficult challenge.  At SaddleOnline we are trying to make finding the perfect saddle just a bit easier with our line of Draft Saddles.