The Horse I Ride - A Percheron - Descendant of the Horse Ridden by the Knights of the Middle Ages.
I have been told that the horse I ride is the largest horse in the mid-west - possibly in the United States. His back is six foot off the ground - but he is small compared to the largest horse of all time - another Percheron named Dr Le Gear. This horse stood 7 foot tall at the withers or the back of the shoulders. This gigantic horse is said to be even smaller than those used by knights during the Middle Ages!!! Here is a brief history of the Percheron horse. For a picture of me riding the Percheron click HERE.
Percheron, breed of working horse native to France, one of the most popular large breeds in the world. The Percheron was developed in the La Perche region of Normandy (Normandie) from which it takes its name.
The Percheron is one of the largest of all horses, standing about 163 to 173 cm (about 64 to 68 in, or 16 to 17 hands) high at the withers (the high part of the back, located between the shoulder blades) and weighing about 909 kg (about 2000 lb). The compact body is broad and deep with a deep chest. The short legs are stocky, but its stride is long for a draft horse. A thick, slightly arched neck supports the long, handsome head. The Percheron has large, expressive eyes, well-proportioned ears, and flared nostrils. It usually is colored gray or black.
The Percheron probably descended from ancient horses that roamed Europe, and later was influenced by the heavy Flanders horse, now known as theBelgian heavy draft horse. The knights of Charles Martel, who ruled the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia (in present northeastern France and southwestern Germany), probably rode Percheron horses when Martels army defeated Islamic invaders at Poitiers, France in the 8th century AD, ending the Muslim occupation of France. This encounter introduced the Percheron to the influence of Arabian and barb horses, which were ridden by Muslim soldiers. Over the years, the Percheron was used as a cavalry horse, a farm horse, a coach horse, a heavy artillery horse, and a saddle horse. This horse was especially popular between 1880 and 1920 when it pulled trolley-like buses in Paris.
The Percheron holds two world records: A stallion named Dr. Le Gear is the largest horse ever documented, standing 213.5 cm (84 in, or 21 hands) at the withers and weighing 1372 kg (3024 lb); a mare in Australia set the unofficial pulling record of 1545 kg (3410 lb) over 4.5 m (15 ft).