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The Percheron is a draft horse that originated in the Huisne river valley, part of the former Perche province in France from which the breed takes its name. Usually gray or black, Percherons are well-muscled, and known for their intelligence and willingness to work. Ancestors of the breed were present in Huisne by the 17th century, and were originally bred to be war horses. Over time, they were used for farm work, pulling stage coaches, and hauling heavy goods. The first purebred Percheron stud book was created in France in 1883. In the late 19th century, thousands of Percherons were shipped from France to the US, but after World War I began, some were shipped back to France to help in the fighting. In 1918 breeding of Percherons began in Great Britain and the British Percheron Horse Society was formed. The current US Percheron registry was created in 1934. Their numbers declined substantially after World War II, but later rebounded. The breed is still used today for riding, for pulling carriages and for heavier draft work. They have been crossed with light horse breeds to produce horses for a wide range of uses. (Full article...)

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