French Trotter

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French Trotter
In a sulky race at the hippodrome of Vincennes
Caroline Théault riding Vezac Duophi in the Prix de Belesta at Hippodrome de la Cépière in 2016
Conservation statusFAO (2007): not at risk[1]: 44 
Other names
  • Trotteur français
  • Anglo-Norman Trotter
  • Norman Trotter
Country of originFrance
Usetrotting races
  • 154–167 cm[2]: 467 
Coloursolid dark colours[2]: 467 
Breed standards

The French Trotter is a French breed of trotting horse bred for racing both ridden and in harness.[3]: 132  It was bred specifically for racing in the 19th century (1800s), principally in Normandy in north-western France.[4]


Ridden trotting races in France were first held at the Champ de Mars of Paris in 1806.[3]: 133  Selective breeding of trotting racehorses began in Normandy in the latter half of the 19th century.[4] Initial breeding of what would become the French Trotter was based on the local Carrossier Normand, a forerunner of the Norman Cob; outside influences were from British Hackney, Norfolk Trotter, Yorkshire Coach Horse, Cleveland Bay, Thoroughbred, and half-bred hunter stallions, and later from the American Standardbred.[2]: 467 [4][5]: 157 

A stud-book for the French Trotter was started in 1906; eligibility for registration was determined by performance. The breed received official recognition in 1922.[2]: 467  In 1937 the stud-book was closed to horses not bred in France; a small number of registrations of cross-bred horses with Standardbred blood has since been permitted.[3]: 133 


There is no breed standard for the French Trotter.[6] It is compact and of medium size – usually between about 154 and 167 cm at the withers – and is most often chestnut or bay.[2]: 467 [6] The shoulder is sloped and the sternum prominent. The facial profile is straight.[6]

Despite the influence of the American Standardbred, which is predominantly a lateral pacing breed, the French Trotter performs an ordinary diagonal trot.[3]: 132  It has greater stamina and endurance than the Standardbred; it reaches maturity more slowly, but may have a longer life as a racer.[2]: 467  It can carry considerable weight, and excels in mounted racing at the trot.[5]: 157 


Approximately one third of the foals born each year are eventually selected for racing.[6] They may be raced either in harness to sulkies, or ridden; about ninety per cent of races are in harness. The principal French trotting races are the Prix de Cornulier for ridden trotters, and the Prix d'Amérique for sulky racers.[3]: 133  A few horses excel in both types of race; by 1995, four horses had won the top prize in both disciplines.[3]: 133 

The horses not selected as racers may be used for riding, for trekking, in show-jumping or for mounted hunting.[6]


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Elwyn Hartley Edwards (1994). The Encyclopedia of the Horse. London; New York; Stuttgart; Moscow: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0751301159.
  4. ^ a b c [Société d’encouragement à l’élevage du cheval français] (2010). Le Trotteur Français (in French). Les Haras Nationaux. Archived 28 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Elwyn Hartley Edwards (2016). The Horse Encyclopedia. New York, New York: DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465451439.
  6. ^ a b c d e [Société d’encouragement à l’élevage du cheval français] (26 February 2019). Le Trotteur Français (in French). Les Haras Nationaux. Accessed August 2011.