If ever there was a real to life fairytale horse, it would be the Boulonnais. With a super strength combined with an exquisite elegance, the Boulonnais is often referred to as the Thoroughbred of Draft horses. Unlike other draft horses, the Boulonnais is able to maintain speed while running long distances. It is the perfect combination of speed, strength, versatility and elegance.
It is believed that the Boulonnais descended from the Numidian horses which were imported by Julius Caesar and his legions. These horses were kept with the legions along the coasts of the Pas-de-Calais before they invaded what is now known as Great Britain. After the Crusades, and the occupation of Flanders by the Spanish, there was a great deal of Andalusian and Oriental blood added to the Boulonnais bloodlines. There were several more crosses with the stock from Andalucía and an introduction to the Mecklenburg bloodlines from Germany. These crosses shaped the breed of the Boulonnais even further.
Today the Boulonnais is considered to be the noblest draft horse in Europe. The graceful and beautiful appearance is credited to the crossing of the cold blood of the old European and the hot blood of the Arabian horse. The Boulonnais draft horse was so influenced by these early ancestors, that it is distinctly set apart from all other draft horse breeds. The combination of its elegant build, thick mane, silky coat, refined head and speed can be directly attributed to the hot blooded ancestry that it enjoys.
The neck of the Boulonnais is long. The head of the Boulonnais is pointed and refined like that of the Arabian horse. The hair of the horse is considered to be luxurious and the eyes are found to be large and bright. The chest of the Boulonnais is broad. It has thighs which are muscled and it possesses a large shape overall.
The Boulonnais is a powerful horse, but it still demonstrates an elegance that is belied by its size. The spirit of the Boulonnais is considered to be strong and very confident. It is a horse that demands respect and lets you know it is in charge of the situation, whatever the situation may be. It maintains great strength and stamina with a riding ability that is proven. It is due to these qualities that the Boulonnais was chosen to be a warhorse in the fourteenth century. There was a need for a horse that could wear the heavy armor and still carry supplies quickly. With the speed of a Thoroughbred and the sturdiness of a draft horse, the Boulonnais was an excellent choice for this purpose.
With an irrefutable grace and gentle spirit, the Boulonnais is comfortable in whatever setting it is placed. It can pull a carriage with fairytale appeal or it can be used for agricultural purposes. It is at home in the show ring or out on the trail, trekking through nature with its rider. The intelligence and grace of this horse makes it stand out with a nobility that serves it well.