Breed Organization Information
ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ELEVEURSDE CHEVAUX DE RACE SELLE FRANCAIS (ANSF)
22 rue de Penthi?vre 75 008
Tel : +33 (0) 1 45 62 00 52
About the Breed
The French have had a long and admired history of horse breeding. Through one of their intensive breeding program has emerged one of the finest sport horses today, the Selle Fran?ais or French Saddle Horse. Like all warmbloods the Selle Fran?ais is a mix of breeds yet what sets it apart is the influence of crosses with trotting breeds.
The breed was developed in the area around the government stud farms of Saint L? and Le Pin in the French department of Normandy. During the nineteenth century, Norman breeders imported English Thoroughbreds and Norfolk Trotters to cross with their native stock. These crosses resulted in two types of horse: the French Trotter, a fast harness horse and the Anglo-Norman, with both a saddle and draft type. The saddle type of the Anglo-Norman would be the prototype for the modern Selle Fran?ais.
The Anglo-Norman horse is the most recognized foundation stock for the Selle Fran?ais. However, many of the local French breeds which were bred as saddle horses like the Vendeen, Charollais, Limousin, Corlais, Angevin, Angonin and Charentais played an important role in the breeds development.
Following World War II, the French began to emphasize the production of a riding horse possessing speed, stamina, and ability. As the Anglo-Norman began to be crossed with the regional breeds the resulting stock began to resemble each other more and more. Because of this growing similarity among the regional breeds they were merged together under one name, “le cheval de Selle Fran?ais,” meaning the French Saddle horse in 1958.
Since then the Selle Fran?ais has become the epitome of what a sport horse should be, athletic, strong with good conformation and an intelligent and tractable disposition. The Selle Fran?ais has excelled internationally in show jumping. They have also been bred to race as AQPSA (autres que pur sang association, meaning “other than Thoroughbred”) and also participate in cross-country racing, dressage and eventing.
Due to its diversified origins, conformation can vary. The Selle Fran?ais generally has a neat, attractive head, set on to a long neck. The shoulders are usually sloping, the chest is deep and the body is long and muscular. They stand between 15.2 and 17 hands. Chestnut is most common, but can be any color.
The Selle Fran?ais today continues to be an amalgamation of breeds, with 33 percent from Thoroughbred sires, 20 percent by Anglo-Arab, two percent by French Trotters and 45 percent by Selle Fran?ais stallions.