I have included the Ardennes horse in 'wildlife' although it no longer lives wild in France because of its heritage as a descendant from a prehistoric horse.
It is known that the Ardennes horses were found in Ancient Rome, and they were also used in the westwards campaigns of Napoleon in the 19th century. They also played an important role in the World Wars of the 20th century.
Further back in history still, it is possible they were derived from the Solutre house, a prehistoric horse with certain similarities.
Found predominantly in the Ardennes region (a department in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, but also across the border into Belgium), the Ardennes is a popular work farm work horse, due to its size and strength.
Their characteristic features include the 'trademark' feet, with a great deal of hair. They are also broader with thicker necks than most horse breeds. Typical colours for the horses include roan, chestnut, gray, bay and palomino, with black being very unusual.
The horses we see today are slightly modified from the more ancient versions having been cross-bred with Arab horses for improved endurance, and later also with Belgian Draft horses.
Despite their size and strength, the Ardennes horses are also known for their non-aggressivity.
Note: horse meat is eaten in France, and sometimes comes from the Ardennes horse.
More French Wildlife
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