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23 February 2019   
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French Breeds of Horse

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This small French breed comes from the Pyrenees in the south-west of France, where the Ariege River runs in the high valley. The breed closely resembles the horses of southern Gaul described by Julius Caesar in his commentaries of the Gallic Wars. It stands at between 13.1 and 14.3. h.h. and was originally used for a pack animal. Today it serves as a riding horse and is used in agriculture to work the steepest of farmland that is out of reach for modern machinery. It is hardy and sure-footed, ice covered mountain tracks do not deter this nimble little horse. Capable of enduring extreme cold weather, it is not so well adapted to the heat.

The Ariegeois is solid black in colour, with a reddish tint in the winter. It has a medium size head with a straight profile and kind eyes, smallish fluffy ears; a short straight neck; fairly straight shoulders; a broad chest; a strong though rather long back; strong round quarters with a sloping croup and rather low set tail; short, light boned limbs with good strong hooves. The main and tail are course and thick offering plenty of protection against the elements, though the coat is soft and fine. The Ariegeois is usually a willing horse with very active paces.

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