Percheron … will this breed disappear soon?

Percherons may disappear if the younger generation does not take up the torch. © Le Perche

“I have a passion for percherons and I have a deep respect for this breed,” Michael Bernardbreeder at Saint-Germain-de-la-Coudre (Orne). “I am the fourth generation in the family of Percherons. Before me, my father or grandfather always chose horses of this breed.”

A family story

This passion has since been passed on to his daughter, then to his grandson, Thomas Bellefontaine. In fact, the latter is the 6e generation. He accompanies his grandfather in competitions or on farm visits.

At the age of 18, he already knew that he would hold the torch for a few years, after studying to be veterinary medicine. “That’s what I want.”

Enough to keep the breed alive on its historic lands. Cradle of this breed a horse, the Perche region may see its representation decrease. “The problem that we may have in the coming years is that the farms are run by retired people like me. »

If the younger generation does not continue to breed the Percheron, the breed will become rare.

Michael Bernard

However, the latter does not think the breed will disappear, because “there will always be daredevils” like him and his family to nurture and maintain the tradition.

Percherons Le Perche
As a draft horse, the Percheron is known to be a powerful yet elegant horse. At the Buat stud farm, Michel Frenard raises ten Percherons as a family. © Le Perche

The decline is not since today

The decline in the number of Percheron horses of the breed is not today. Michel Fernand said: “Percheron is known as a strong and elegant horse that can pull heavy loads.

The decline of the breed began after the Second World War. Percherons began to be replaced by tractors.

Michael Bernard

Until the early 1990s, Percherons were mainly used in two ways: beautiful specimens were used for breeding and others were sent to the slaughterhouse. “One day on TV, Brigitte Bardot asked the French to stop eating horse meat. A few days later, Consumption has decreased by 50% “.

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Despite his love for the breed, Michel Frenard understands that farmers are selling their Percherons “for economic reasons”. “Often they’ll sell their old horse to buy a pony.”

percherons
Breeding of the Buat has only one cub in 2022. But four are planned for next year. © Le Perche

Michel Frenard was founded in 1969 in Moulin Du Buat at Saint-Germain de la Coudre. He took over the business from his wife. ” Percherons never let me live. And we can’t live with it. It is the dairy cows of the farm that will bring in the income,” he points out.

“That’s also why the race is down, because it has no economic reason.” By the time, Breeding Du Buat offers horse-drawn carriage rides. ” Having Percherons above all is a joy for me. It’s a passion.”Michel Frenard said.

Color changes over the years

Arrive Du Buat livestock, ten mares percheron Live freely in the grasslands. All but one wordfamily farmingI. “I still have all my fillings. Sometimes I sell less pretty ones. I always sell the males when they are six months old.”

The youngest person on the farm is moon, born this year. “I’ll keep her, because she has good criteria.” Four births are scheduled for next year. “Sometimes I buy a mare when I like.” A mare can be sold between 5,000 and 8,000 euros. “There are some criteria that apply, such as age or coat color.”

How the Percheron dress has evolved over the years:

Michel and his nephew Thomas also have a special relationship with the Percherons. “I want to say that it was thanks to the milk of a mare that my mother gave me that I survived infant pertussis.” Thomas shares his birthday with Cheops. “She was born on May 3 like me. My grandfather gave it to me.”

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