French Trotter

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French Trotter
Sulky racing Vincennes DSC03735 cropped.JPG
In a sulky race at the hippodrome of Vincennes
Prix de Belesta 2016 - Toulouse La Cépière, trot monté 8758.jpg
Caroline Théault riding Vezac Duophi in the Prix de Belesta at Toulouse La Cépière [fr] 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 nineteenth century, 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 nineteenth century.[4] It was based on the local Carrossier Normand, a now-extinct forerunner of the Norman Cob; other influences were from the American Standardbred, Hackney, Norfolk Trotter and Thoroughbred.[2]:467[4]

A stud-book for 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.[5] 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[5] The shoulder is sloped and the sternum prominent. The facial profile is straight.[5]

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


Approximately one third of the foals born each year are eventually selected for racing.[5] 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 [fr] 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.[5]


  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 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.