ORIGINS OF "TROTTEUR FRANÇAIS"
Genetically speaking, he is the result of various cross-breeding that took place throughout the 19th century.
From the 1830's, and by instigation of an officer from the Haras Nationaux (national breeding stables), called Ephrem Houël, breeders from Normandy crossed native mares with English or Arab Thoroughbred horses. In view of the disappointing results, between 1840 and 1860 they imported half-bred horses from England, in particular the Norfolk, a race of trotters that has now disappeared. The horse that was created was then crossed with the Orlov, imported from Russia between 1860 and 1900, and the Standardbred from the United States.
Today’s "Trotteur Français" was only really born at the start of the 1900's. It was in 1907 that Mr Louis Cauchois had the first volume of the "Trotteur Français" studbook published. Thirty years later, in 1937, this studbook had to be closed.
To begin with, mounted trotting races and long distance races were encouraged, making the "Trotteur Français" a robust animal. At the end of the First World War, military obligations and public taste had changed, and the harnessed trot gradually became the predominant discipline and the horses thus gained speed (1st Prix d’Amérique in 1920 was won by Pro Patria).
The constant improvements to French breeding meant that, from the 1950's, champions were being produced in numbers (Gélinotte, Jamin, Roquépine, Une de Mai, Bellino II, Idéal du Gazeau, Ourasi, Cocktail Jet, Général du Pommeau, Jag de Bellouet) and made it the only breed to rival with its American counterpart.
The Chairman speech
Although forty years younger than the American Standardbred, the "Trotteur Français" has proven itself on racetracks all over the world. In less than fifty years, the "Trotteur Français" has shown that it deserves its place among the world’s elite by distinguishing itself in every major race it had the opportunity to run.
Thanks to high quality breeding and innovative races, in just a few decades trotting has become the most popular horse racing discipline of the French nation.
Within the framework of a modern Europe that is opening up to other nations, the "Trotteur Français" owes it to itself to become the spearhead of European trotting. France has therefore decided to promote breeding in the whole continent. In doing so, we are offering foreign breeders the rare possibility of taking part in a sporting enterprise which has already proven its vigour.
Wherever it was born, whoever it is owned by, any "Trotteur Français" registered in the studbook for this breed can take part in French races, which are the most prestigious and most highly rewarded in the world. The breeder receives a bonus for all French and group 1 European races.
The "Trotteur Français" does not only represent a future of horse racing for France, but for the whole of Europe.
Dominique de Bellaigue
Chairman of Cheval Français