The Camargue horse is a breed of horse that is located in the Camargue region of France. This ancient breed is native to the area and is thought to be one of the oldest in the world. Its exact origin is unknown, but it is thought to be a descendant of the Solutré horse. Both Celtic and Roman invaders appreciated this breed when they came to the area and it is thought that the Spanish Jaca Navarra horse was developed by crossbreeding a Celtic pony with this breed. Because of this, the Camargue horse was able to influence other breeds including Criollo and Chilean horse.
The French government initiated breed standards in 1976 in order to preserve the purity of the Camargue and began registering primary breeders in that same year. The studbook was created in 1978, which allowed the registration of new born foals. Foals were required to be born outside and had to be witnessed suckling from a registered mare in order to be registered themselves. Horses born inside the province of Camargue are registered as sous berceau, while horses born outside of the area are registered as hors berceau. Today, this horse is used in various competitions and farm work.
The Camargue horse reaches a height between 13.1 and 14.3 hands and a weight between 770 and 1,100 pounds. Despite its small stature, this breed is strong and can even carry a full grown adult. It is always grey in color, an appearance that results from having black skin and white hair. Its head is similar to that of a Barb horse, with wide-set eyes, small ears, and flat forehead. This breed is known for having a calm temperament, a high level of intelligence, and stamina.
Image Caption: Camargue. Credit: Donato Papini/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)