HORSES OF THE WORLD
Europe - France
At the beginning of the 19th century France started to develop its own
type of trotting horses by crossing strong Norman mares with English Thoroughbreds,
half-breds and Norfolk Roadsters.
In 1806 the first trotting races took place on the Champ de Mars in Paris. They were
ridden and not driven races. As the sport increased in popularity purpose built race
tracks were opened, the first being at Cherbourg in the 1830's. The sport received
official support in 1861 with an Imperial decree, leading to the formation of its first
Over time five important bloodlines established: Conquerant, Normand, Lavater, Phaeton and
Fuchsia, with Fuchsia being the most influential of the early stallions. He was foaled
in1883 and sired almost 400 trotters and more than 100 of his sons produced winners. To
give the breed more speed some Standardbred blood was introduced. In 1937 the Trotteur
Franšais Stud Book closed its register to non French bred horses. Only recently a very
limited number of carefully selected French Standardbred crosses are admitted. The French
Trotter had an important part in the development of the Selle Franšais.
France is the country with the greatest tradition of trotting racing outside the United
States. The Prix d'Amerique is the premiere trotting race and the Prix de Cornulier is the
premiere ridden race. About 10% of the trotting races in France are still under saddle,
which has an important effect on the breeding. Well built horses with good balance and
level action are needed as they race under comparatively heavy weights.
sturdy, similar appearance to Thoroughbred
Head: intelligent head; large, kind eyes
Shoulders: well sloped
Body: short, strong body; very powerful, often sloping
Color: predominantly chestnut, bay, brown and occasionally
roan; grey is rare
Height: 16.2hh on average
Qualities: strength, level action, good balance
Trotting races are also held in the snow using specially designed
vehicles. The French Trotter is sometimes used in the sport of skijoring where a person on
skis is pulled by a horse.