Poitevin and Normandy Cob

...and on the eighth day, God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

The Mulassier, also known as the Poitevin, is an obscure breed not often heard of outside France.

In the southwest region of Poitou, the Poitevin Draft had its beginning, thought to be descended from heavy draft horses that were brought in from Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. (1)

In the 17th century, the heavy draft horses were used to drain swamps and marshes, these became interbred.

The Poitevin Draft is unattractive and lethargic, and although it is powerful, it is not often used as a work horse.

However, when crossed with a local Baudet de Poitou Donkey, it produces an excvvvvt Mule

that is large, powerful and durable; it was once highly prized and sought after all over Europe.

After the end of WWII, the demand for Mules dropped greatly, and the Poitevin Draft faced extinction.

But, recently there has been a renewed interest in Mules as a working draft animal, which has meant, in turn, a corresponding interest in saving the Poitevin Draft.

The Poitevin Draft originates in France, is considered a Coldblood and comes in at 16HH to 16.3HH.

The colors are dun, gray, grayish, bay or black, and it has a generally good-natured temperament.

It thrives in temperate climates, has a heavy, plain head, no turn-over at the poll, and has a short, muscular neck set on an upright shoulder.

The back is long and straight, with a mid-length tail-set, nice, round rump, not too goosey, and it has short legs with very thick feathering.

The Normandy Cob is a very stylish looking light-draft horse, and has been around since the 19th century. (2)

Normandy is in the northwest of France and is renowned horse-breeding country since the 10th century, producing fine looking animals at established stud farms.

The Normandy Cob was first developed to meet the needs of the French military, mainly at the state owned Saint-Lo Stud in the La Manche region, and also at the Le Pin Stud.

The breed was developed in two blood lines, the stockier, heavier, light-draft horse type that was used on farms, and the lighter version, which was used as a riding horse.

The light, riding Normandy Cob had Norfolk Roadster and Thoroughbred blood in the mix, adding to its more refined appearance.

Traditionally, the tails on the draft Normandy Cob have always been docked, but nowadays people are leaving them intact, opting instead to plait and tie them.

The heavier, draft-type of Normandy Cob is more common today and is still used for agricultural work, principally in the La Manche region.

The breed itself is well established, but there is no official stud book or registry.

The Normandy Cob originates in France and is considered a Warmblood, coming in at 15.3HH to 16.3HH.

The colors are chestnut and bay. It thrives in cool temperate climates and is used for light draft and harness work.

The Normandy Cob’s temperament is easy-going and gentle, but it is lively.

The head is drafty on a well-defined, muscular neck, good shoulder with a nice slope and a nice broad chest that is well-proportioned. The back is short and compact on sturdy legs that are not too short.

Sounds like a nice ride.

Closing once again to the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1, 2: “A Pocket Guide to Horses and Ponies,” by Corinne Clark