About Camargue Horses
Camargue horses arre one of the oldest breeds of horses
known. They are indigenous to the harsh wetlands of the Camargue region of
Southern France. They have resided there as far back as prehistoric times.
Researchers believe that the Camargue horse is a descendent from the ancient
Solutre horse. Archeological evidence of this has been found to a considerable
extent in the Burgundy region of France. Camargue horse is also closely related
to Spanish breeds from the northern part of the peninsula.
Births in the wild occur from April until July. The horses
are gathered up at the age of three and trained. One of the techniques which is
taught is neck reining, allowing the rider to keep only one hand on the reins. On
most of the farms, or manades, where Camarques are bred, only males are broken
in and the mares are bred for reproduction. The French government officially set standards for the
Camargue horse in 1976 and registered the main Camargue breeders in order to
preserve purity in the breed. The Camargue horse was then officially recognized
by the National Stud Farms in 1978 and a stud book was set up.
Camarque horses are very rustic little horses that are born
black or dark brown. However, as they grow to adulthood, their coat lightens
until it is pale grey or white. They have a coarse, heavy, oriental-type square
heads of primitive horses. However, the influence of Arabian, Barb and
Thoroughbred blood can also be seen. They average from 13.1 to 14.2 hands high,
and have a short body with straight upright shoulders, deep chest, extremely
hardy legs with clean joints, long forearms, very good hooves and a full mane
and tail. The Camargue horse weighs from 660 to 880 pounds. Its eyes are large
and expressive, and its ears are are broad and short. Life expectancy is from
20 to 25 years.
They have a very calm temperament, agility, and stamina. They
are generally self-sufficient animals
and do not require much from their keepers.
Camargue horses are excellent mounts. They are the
traditional mount of the gardians (Camargue cowboys). They can easily walk for
long distances, withstanding extreme conditions and going without food for a
long period of time. The horse's remarkable temperament, agility, and endurance
has resulted in its being used for equestrian games, dressage and long distance
Camargue Horses are also known as the "horse of the
sea." Because many live along the shoreline of Camargue were a regional
park and natural reserve exist today. The park covers over 500 square miles.
Because of wildlife sanctuaries, the Camargue has reclaimed
its homeland. In addition, the Camargue gardians and breeders are aiding in
preserving the breed. By exhibiting breed's skills at local festivals, people
are becoming aware of the breed.