The Boulonnais is considered to be the most noble of draft horses from Europe. This horse has a unique conformation and appearance that is due to its ancestry which is quite unusual. The Boulonnais has the hot blood of the Arabian and the cold blood of the old European horses. This unusual mixture makes for a refined and graceful draft horse.
The Boulonnais originated in northwestern France. It was developed by crossing the ancient cold blooded horses with those of Eastern blood. It was after the region was occupied by the Romans that the Arabian hot blooded line was introduced. It was again introduced with the horses that were captured during the Crusades. The original purpose of the Boulonnais was to work the land as a draft horse. It was also used to haul the boats used for fishing, from the sea.
When you think of a fairytale, the horse that you would most expect to see would be a Boulonnais. This horse has the muscled thighs, large shape and broad chest that every fairytale horse must possess, except the Boulonnais is very real. The horse possesses a spirit that is both confident and strong, while displaying elegance through its powerful movements. The Boulonnais is known for its strength and stamina. It is able to maintain great speed over distances which are long. It also has a riding ability that is proven. These qualities made it a very popular war horse.
The Boulonnais was the first choice as a warhorse during the fourteenth century. There was a great need for a horse that was able to carry supplies while wearing heavy armor. A bit of lightness was infused into the breed with the addition of Spanish blood during the sixteenth century when France was occupied by the Spanish. It was during the seventeenth century that the breed was finally established.
Today the Boulonnais is still used as a draft horse. It is sometimes used for agricultural purposes. With the strength and stamina that the Boulonnais possesses, it is a natural choice for those looking for an alternative to the modern machinery of today.
While the Boulonnais is perfect for land use, it is most at home being used as a carriage horse. You will often find it hitched up to carriages promoting the fairytale image it projects so well. This image is used by many different businesses that promote carriage rides in a fairytale type of setting. You may find these horses being used to pull carriages in weddings, carriage rides around the park or through the city.
The Boulonnais is also used as a draft horse in the show arena. With the grace that it possesses, it is a natural choice for competition. It does very well in the hitching competitions as well as the pulling competitions. This horse demonstrates the strength and stamina it was bred with while gracefully accomplishing each task. With its refined temperament and grace, the Boulonnais horse is able to bring the fairytale to the show ring.