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The horse encompasses many breeds.  At “Le Pin” National Stud, approximately 30 stallions stand at stud, representing ten different breeds.  Four breeds, having gained their French origins in the area, the "birthplace of the breed", still remain prominent figures at Le Pin, namely the "Percheron” draught horse, the Thoroughbred imported from England by the gentry in its early days, the French Trotter and the French Saddle, more commonly known as the “Selle Français”.
Some stallions became famous due to the quality of their off-spring, more commonly known in English as “Top Sires”; others will remain as ever anonymous.

"Percheron" draught horse

History

Although dating back to the 8th Century, the origins of the breed really began with Jean le Blanc, considered as one of the founder stallions of the breed, born in 1823 in the Orne county, out of a local draught horse brood mare and the Arabian stallion “Gallipoly”, the so-called “Persian” breed of the time, and imported in 1813 to Le Pin.
Found way back in the origins of the modern-day American Percheron, once exported from France, these “foreign” sires have come back to their roots, being currently used to improve the “birthplace breed”, such as in the bloodlines of Rubis du Chesnay, a young stallion whose American origins actually go back to the said Jean le Blanc, a sheer witness of the continuity of the Percheron originating from Le Pin.  Other top Percheron sires include Sénateur: born in 1962 out of the sire "Négateur" and the mare "Marinette", she herself out of the sire "Evêché", this stallion stood exclusively at Le Pin National Stud, its origins being found in many pedigrees of today's brood mares and stallions.

The breed 

Origins
The origins of the Percheron date back several centuries.  It is the fruit of rigorous selection, both on the farm and as a carriage horse.
Its birthplace is the Perche region of the Orne county in Lower Normandy.  The cross-breeding of local brood mares during the 19th Century with Arabian stallions gave rise to the saying:
“The Percheron is an Arabian horse having become more and more robust due to the climate and its rural use over the centuries.”
Characteristics
It is not only very versatile (sturdy, used on the farm or for driving, amongst others), but is also very quiet in terms of temperament.
With its lively and high gait, it stands out from the other draught horse breeds.
Size
1.55 to 1.85 m at the withers (15.1 ~ 18.1 hands).

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Thoroughbred

History

The first Thoroughbreds came from England at the turn of the 19th Century with the importation of Tigris and Dio, following a purchase mission by the National Stud institution.  At that time, selection made by those high-ranking officials was inevitably criticised, just as it always had been throughout history until a series of racing victories came to quell recriminations.  We note in 1835, in particular, the wins of Agar (a thoroughbred filly out of the sire Eastham and the dam Danaé, she herself born at Le Pin out of the Arabian stallion Massoud and the dam Deer, imported in 1820 from England) on the Paris racecourse “Champ de Mars” (where now stands the Eiffel Tower), as well as in 1838, the win of Corisandre, and in 1839, that of Eylau, both stock from the same breedlines.  The public performances of these “French-born” Thoroughbreds, influenced by the reigning economic liberalism, led to the stoppage of foal rearing at "Le Pin" National Stud.

From that point on, flat-racing and the Thoroughbred have remained omnipresent across Norman landscapes, through the efforts of major private studs in the Orne and the Calvados counties.

Le Pin National Stud also contributed to choosing such stallions as Le Tyrol (1948-1972), Carmathen (1964-1983), Garde Royale  (1980-2000) and Epervier Bleu (1987-2002), an advisory role that it continues to play today.

The breed

First records of existence: 17th ~ 18th Centuries in England.
Origins
The Thoroughbred emerged in Great Britain in the 17th Century through the crossing of English brood mares with Arabian stallions.
Characteristics
The Thoroughbred is the fastest and the most sought after horse for horse-racing.
It became a useful element in the breedlines of competition horses and has been used to improve many other breeds.
Size
1.65 m on average at the withers (16.1 hands).


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Thoroughbred national stallion: Policy Maker

€900,000 in winnings, a sporting feat of which even the best would be envious - without doubt, Policy Maker is a crack!  At ease on classical distances, he ran 23 races between the age of 3 and 6, winning 7 and being placed 13 times.  Winner of the Grand Prix of Deauville, Policy Maker was twice victorious in the Grand Prix of Chantilly.
Finishing 4th in the Japan Cup, he was twice second in the Grand Prix of Saint-Cloud and ran in the famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

He is bred by the famous Wildenstein family, with Sadler’s Wells his sire and Palmeraie his dam, she herself being a sister of Pétroleusen, who was the dam of Peintre Célèbre, winner of the 1997 edition of the Arc de Triomphe.  Policy Maker, a horse with a sure value, stands out by his hardiness, his sturdiness and his fight, not forgetting his ability to perform on heavy going.

For more details, see the Thoroughbred information sheet on the “Haras Nationaux” Website.


POLICY MAKER - Stallion

French trotter

 

History

The development of the French Trotter, closely linked to Normandy, is due to the know-how and the dynamic approach of local breeders.  Several well-known stallions having stood here at stud have contributed to such expertise through their genes, i.e. Fuschia, Intermède or Quinio.  Stallions, such as Mario and Hermès (in the second half of the 20th Century), are also to be mentioned, in addition to Florestan, offspring of the famous dam Roquépine and the sire Star’s Pride, symbol of the American bloodlines (Standardbred), introduced into the French Trotter breed and considered to be among one of the best in the world, not forgetting Workaholic, also American-bred, who today lives happily in retirement at Le Pin National Stud!

The Breed

Temperate climate
First records of existence: 19th Century
Origins
The French Trotter is the result of cross-breeding, tried and tested in Normandy, between local halfbreds and the Norfolk Trotter imported from England, which although now extinct, influenced the famous Hackney carriage horse with its high trotting gait.
Subsequent cross-breeding with the smaller American Trotter (Standardbred) enabled to develop speed, while maintaining its more robust bone structure.
Characteristics
As suggested by its name, the French Trotter is a specialist of trotting races where galloping is forbidden.  It has developed great resistance and facility in this type of event, essentially in harness, trotting races under the saddle not being quite as popular.
Size
1.65 m on average at the withers (16.1 hands).

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French Trotter national stallion: Onyx du Goutier

Easy to handle and an early runner, Onyx du Goutier is gifted with exceptional spurts of acceleration, so much so that his racing career kicked off to a wonderful start at an early age.  Already a winner as a 2 year-old, he won the Prix de l’Etoile at the age of 3, integrating the hard-core “Classical” racehorses.

This attractive dark bay with a harmonious conformation, whose sire is Buvetier d’Aunou, can be quite nervous out on the tracks, no doubt due to the American blood of his grandsire, Royal Prestige.  Having said that, his dam also has her word to say, being the precious Améthyste, one of the rare French brood mares to have brought 3 “Classical” or “Semi-Classical” racehorses into the world.

For more details, see the French Trotter information sheet on the “Haras Nationaux” Website.

ONYX DU GOUTIER stallion/copyright : O Houdart

French Saddle or "Selle Français"

 

History

In the world of sports horses, the most famous stallion at Le Pin is Furioso, the Thoroughbred imported from England in 1946, who stood at stud until 3rd September 1967, when he died of a heart attack at the age of 28, having sired 558 mares over 22 breeding seasons. Furioso, through cross-breeding with Norman brood mares, is the forefather to many a jumping horse found out in the arenas today: the famous “Selle Français” (French Saddle).  Many of his offspring have become stallions in turn (including “Mexico” at Le Pin), spreading his genes throughout Europe.

The breed

Temperate climate
First records of existence: 19th/20th Century
Origins
The "Selle Français" is the result of cross-breeding between the Thoroughbred stallion and local Normandy brood mares.  Before the Second World War, it was called the “Anglo-Norman Halfbred”.
In 1958, it was baptised “Selle Français”, regrouping all the local “Halfbreds” across France.  From that point on, it has been constantly improved through cross-breeding and selection, based on sporting achievements.
Characteristics
One of the most solid and versatile horses among European competition breeds.
An excellent jumper and having an aptitude for many different events, the French Saddle excels in cross-country and jumping.
Size
1.65 to 1.70m at the withers (16.1 ~ 16.3 hands).

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“Selle Français” national stallion: Iris de Celland

A magnificent chestnut sport horse, Iris de Celland is the image of today’s “Selle Français”.
French Champion at the age of 5, he subsequently confirmed his performances in national jumping competitions.
Having a wonderful gait and a good temperament, Iris de Celland is representative of the “Selle Français” breed at Le Pin National Stud.

For more details, see the Selle Français information sheet on the “Haras Nationaux” Website.


IRIS DE CELLAND Stallion/copyright HN

Other breeds represented at Le Pin National Stud

Other breeds found at Le Pin National Stud include the Normandy Cob or “Cob Normand”, the Standardbred or American Trotter, the Anglo-Arab, the Hanoverian, the Lusitanian, the Hungarian Nonius and the French Saddle Pony or “Poney Français de Selle”, not forgetting:

"El Ouassal", the Barb horse of Oriental origin

“El Ouassal” represents the Barb breed.  His sire was “Ouassel”, an Arabian-Barb stallion, born at Tiaret Brood mare Stud in Algeria and presented as a gift to Valérie Giscard d'Estaing, French President, by Mr Boumédienne, Head of the Algerian State.  The former subsequently entrusted “Ouassa” to the care of the National Stud institution.

Photograph: EL OUASSAL - national stallion/copyright HN

“Teake it Easy”, the Welsh Pony of Dutch origin

Confirmed stallion as regards its offspring, "Teake it Easy” is well-known in international show-jumping rings.  Known as "Kooihuster Teake” in Holland, he twice participated in the European Championships for jumping and dressage, quite a unique feat.
Of excellent standard, having a pleasant gait and a good temperament, he is the ideal pony for children.


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