Anky van Grunsven
Theodora Elisabeth Gerarda "Anky" van Grunsven is a Dutch dressage champion, the only rider to record three successive Olympic wins in the same event. Along with her Olympic successes, she has won numerous medals at the World Equestrian Games, is the only rider to have competed at every WEG since they began in 1990. Between 1990 and 2006, she competed at the Games in dressage, but in 2010 she was named as part of the Dutch reining team, marking a major change in discipline. In addition to her Olympic and World Equestrian Games successes, van Grunsven holds the record for the most wins at the Dressage World Cup, winning the event nine times between 1995 and 2008, she has competed numerous times at the European Dressage Championships, winning seven individual medals and eight team medals between 1991 and 2009. Although van Grunsven has ridden many horses over her career, she won the majority of her top events on two horses: Bonfire and Salinero. Bonfire, upon whom she had many of her early successes, was retired in 2002.
Salinero took over as van Grunsven's top horse, remained in that position until his retirement in 2013, after making a major comeback to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. Van Grunsven has been linked with the controversial training method rollkur, although she has moved to distance herself from the practice after it was banned from international competition. Van Grunsven was born in North Brabant, she began training in dressage at the age of 12, after her horse Prisco performed poorly in show jumping. Van Grunsven is married to Dutch national equestrian coach Sjef Janssen, with whom she has two children, she was pregnant with her first child, when she competed at the 2004 Olympic Games, gave birth in November of that year. Van Grunsven and Janssen married in Las Vegas in late 2005, in March 2007 had her second child, Ava Eden. In 1999, van Grunsven, "frustrated by the lack of fashion in the equestrian world", developed a line of equestrian clothing, now sold internationally. Van Grunsven holds the record for winning the most Olympic medals by an equestrian, with nine medals, is the only person to have won any equestrian event in three successive Olympics.
She is the only person to compete at seven successive Olympics in dressage. She has competed in every Olympic Games between 1988 and 2012, winning a total of three gold medals, five silvers and one bronze. At the 1988 Summer Olympics, riding Prisco, she was eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the individual dressage, was the lowest-scoring member of the fifth-place Dutch team, meaning her score was not used to determine the team's standing. At the 1992 Summer Olympics, her performance improved, riding Bonfire she took fourth individually and won her first silver medal in the team competition. At the 1996 Games, again riding Bonfire, she won double silver in the individual and team dressage competitions. With her last Olympic ride on Bonfire, at the 2000 Summer Olympics, she won her first gold in the individual competition, while helping the Dutch team to their third consecutive silver. In 2004 in Athens, on her new mount, she won her second gold in individual competition, while the Dutch team came in fourth.
The 2008 Olympic Games, again riding Salinero, brought her her third consecutive individual gold, while the Dutch team returned to the medal podium with a silver. Riding Salinero in 2012 in London, van Grunsven slipped to sixth place individually, but helped the Dutch team to her first bronze medal. Van Grunsven was not expected to compete in the 2012 Olympics, as the horse she was riding at the beginning of 2012, IPS Upido, was injured. However, in April, she announced that she planned to compete for a spot on the Dutch Olympic team with the then-18-year-old Salinero, who had staged what the media called a "comeback" after previous injuries. Along with her Olympic successes, van Grunsven has won numerous medals at the World Equestrian Games. After competing in the 2010 World Equestrian Games, she became the only equestrian to have competed in every World Equestrian Games, which have been held every four years since 1990, which include three sections of dressage competition, two individual and one team.
At the 1990 World Equestrian Games, riding Prisco, she finished 23rd individually. Van Grunsven rode Bonfire at the 1994 and 1998 World Equestrian Games, winning individual gold and team silver at the first and double silver at the second, she was unhappy with the judging at the 1998 Games, held in Rome, said that she "thought would quit dressage", despite her high finish placement. At the 2002 World Equestrian Games, riding Krack C, she finished 11th individually and rode to 5th place with the Dutch team, her best finish was at the 2006 Games, riding Salinero, where she won an individual gold and two silvers, one individually and one team. At the 2010 Games, after her top horse Salinero was injured and second-best horse Painted Black was sold, she competed as part of the Dutch reining team, marking a major change in discipline. Riding Whizashiningwalla BB, she was eliminated in the qualifying rounds. At the Games, she performed a reining demonstration at the presentation of the team dressage medal and participated in an exhibition of freestyle reining.
Van Grunsven began riding reining horses around 2000, but only became a serious competitor in the sport after the 2008 Olympics. Van Grunsven has won the Dressage World Cup nine times, in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008, she took second in 1998 and third in 2009. The World Cup features freestyle dressage, her record number of wins has won van Grunsven the nickname "Queen of
Show jumping known as "stadium jumping", "open jumping", or "jumping", is a part of a group of English riding equestrian events that includes dressage, eventing and equitation. Jumping classes are seen at horse shows throughout the world, including the Olympics. Sometimes shows are limited to jumpers, sometimes jumper classes are offered in conjunction with other English-style events, sometimes show jumping is but one division of large, all-breed competitions that include a wide variety of disciplines. Jumping classes may be governed by various national horse show sanctioning organizations, such as the United States Equestrian Federation in the USA or the British Showjumping Association in Great Britain. International competitions are governed by the rules of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. Show jumping events have jumper classes and hunt seat equitation classes. Hunters are judged subjectively on the degree to which they meet an ideal standard of manners and way of going.
Conversely, jumper classes are scored objectively, based on a numerical score determined only by whether the horse attempts the obstacle, clears it, finishes the course in the allotted time. Jumper courses tend to be much more complex and technical than hunter courses because riders and horses are not being judged on style. Courses are colorful and at times, quite creatively designed. Hunters have meticulous turnout and tend toward quiet, conservative horse tack and rider attire. Hunter bits, crops and martingales are regulated. Jumpers, while caring for their horses and grooming them well, are not scored on turnout, are allowed a wider range of equipment, may wear less conservative attire, so long as it stays within the rules. Formal turnout always is preferred. In addition to hunters and jumpers, there are equitation classes, sometimes called hunt seat equitation, which judges the ability of the rider; the equipment and fence styles used in equitation more resemble hunter classes, although the technical difficulty of the courses may more resemble jumping events.
Jumper classes are held over a course of show jumping obstacles, including verticals and double and triple combinations with many turns and changes of direction. The intent is to jump cleanly over a set course within an allotted time. Time faults are assessed for exceeding the time allowance. Jumping faults are incurred for blatant disobedience, such as refusals. Horses are allowed a limited number of refusals before being disqualified. A refusal may lead to a rider exceeding the time allowed on course. Placings are based on "faults" accumulated. A horse and rider who have not accumulated any jumping faults or penalty points are said to have scored a "clear round". Tied entries have a jump-off over a raised and shortened course, the course is timed. In most competitions, riders are allowed to walk the initial course but not the jump-off course before competition to plan their ride. Walking the course before the event is a chance for the rider to walk the lines he or she will have to ride, in order to decide how many strides the horse will need to take between each jump and from which angle.
Going off course will cost time if minor errors are made and major departures will result in disqualification. The higher levels of competition, such as "A" or "AA" rated shows in the United States, or the international "Grand Prix" circuit, present more technical and complex courses. Not only is the height and width of an obstacle increased to present a greater challenge, technical difficulty increases with tighter turns and shorter or unusual distances between fences. Horses sometimes have to jump fences from an angle rather than straight on. For example, a course designer might set up a line so that there are six and a half strides between the jumps, requiring the rider to adjust the horse's stride in order to make the distance. Unlike show hunter classes, which reward calmness and style, jumper classes require boldness, power and control; the first round of the class consists of the rider and horse having to go around the course without refusing or knocking down any jumps while staying within the time allowed.
If the horse/rider combination completes the first round then they move on to the second round, called the "jump-off". In a jump-off, the rider needs to plan ahead of time because they need to be speedy and not have any faults; the jump-off has fewer jumps than the first round but is much more difficult. To win this round, the rider has to be the quickest while still not refusing or knocking down any jumps. Show jumping is a new equestrian sport; until the Inclosure Acts, which came into force in England in the 18th century, there had been little need for horses to jump fences but with this act of Parliament came new challenges for those who followed fox hounds. The Inclosure Acts brought fencing and boundaries to many parts of the country as common ground was dispersed amongst separate owners; this meant that those wishing to pursue their sport
The hand is a non-SI unit of measurement of length standardized to 4 inches. It is used to measure the height of horses in some English-speaking countries, including Australia, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, it was based on the breadth of a human hand. The adoption of the international inch in 1959 allowed for a standardized imperial form and a metric conversion, it may be abbreviated to "h" or "hh". Although measurements between whole hands are expressed in what appears to be decimal format, the subdivision of the hand is not decimal but is in base 4, so subdivisions after the radix point are in quarters of a hand, which are inches. Thus, 62 inches is a half hands, or 15.2 hh. "Hands" may be abbreviated to "h", or "hh". The "hh" form is sometimes interpreted as standing for "hands high." When spoken aloud, hands are stated by numbers, 15.0 is "fifteen hands", 15.2 is alternately "fifteen-two" or "fifteen hands, two inches," and so on. To convert inches to hands, the number in inches is divided by four the remainder is added after the radix point.
Thus, a horse that measures 60 inches is 15 hands high and a horse halfway between 15 and 16 hands is 15.2 hands, or 62 inches tall Because the subdivision of a hand is a base 4 system, a horse 64 inches high is 16.0 hands high, not 15.4. A designation of "15.5 hands" is not halfway between 15 and 16 hands, but rather reads 15 hands and five inches, an impossibility in a base 4 radix numbering system, where a hand is four inches. The hand, sometimes called a handbreadth or handsbreadth, is an anthropic unit based on the breadth of a male human hand, either with or without the thumb, or on the height of a clenched fist. On surviving Ancient Egyptian cubit-rods, the royal cubit is divided into seven palms of four digits or fingers each. Five digits are equal to a hand, with thumb; the royal cubit measured 525 mm, so the length of the ancient Egyptian hand was about 94 mm. In Biblical exegesis the hand measurement, as for example in the Vision of the Temple, Authorized Version Ezekiel 40:43, is taken to be palm or handbreadth, in modern translations may be rendered as "handbreadth" or "three inches".
The hand is a traditional unit in the UK. It was standardised at four inches by a statute of King Henry VIII in 1540, but some confusion between the various types of hand measurement, between the hand and the handsbreadth, appears to have persisted. Phillips's dictionary of 1706 gives four inches for the length of the handful or hand, three inches for the handsbreadth. Wright's 1831 translation of Buffon mentions "A hand breadth, the breadth of the four fingers of the hand, or three inches", but the Encyclopædia Perthensis of 1816 gives under Palm: "A hand, or measure of lengths comprising three inches". Today the hand is used to measure the height of horses and other equines, it is used in the U. S. and in some other nations that use the metric system, such as Canada and the UK. In other parts of the world, including continental Europe, in FEI-regulated international competition, horses are measured in metric units metres or centimetres. In South Africa, measurements may be given in both hands and centimetres, while in Australia, the equestrian regulations stipulate that both measurements are to be given.
In those countries where hands are the usual unit for measuring horse height, inches rather than hands are used in the measurement of miniature horses, miniature ponies, miniature mules and Shetland ponies. A horse is measured from the ground to the top of the highest non-variable point of the skeleton, the withers. For official measurement, the spinous process of the fifth thoracic vertebra may be identified by palpation, marked if necessary. Miniature horses, but not miniature ponies, are measured at the base of the last true hairs of the mane rather than at the withers. For international competition regulated by the Fédération Équestre Internationale and for USEF competition in the US, a horse can be measured with shoes on or off. In the United Kingdom, official measurement of horses is overseen by the Joint Measurement Board. For JMB purposes, the shoes must be removed and the hooves prepared for shoeing prior to measurement. Anthropic units List of horse breeds List of unusual units of measurement Pony Span
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses that are known for their agility and spirit; the Thoroughbred as it is known today was developed in 17th- and 18th-century England, when native mares were crossbred with imported Oriental stallions of Arabian and Turkoman breeding. All modern Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions imported into England in the 17th century and 18th century and to a larger number of foundation mares of English breeding. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Thoroughbred breed spread throughout the world. Millions of Thoroughbreds exist today, around 100,000 foals are registered each year worldwide. Thoroughbreds are used for racing, but are bred for other riding disciplines such as show jumping, combined training, dressage and fox hunting.
They are commonly crossbred to create new breeds or to improve existing ones, have been influential in the creation of the Quarter Horse, Anglo-Arabian, various warmblood breeds. Thoroughbred racehorses perform with maximum exertion, which has resulted in high accident rates and health problems such as bleeding from the lungs. Other health concerns include low fertility, abnormally small hearts and a small hoof-to-body-mass ratio. There are several theories for the reasons behind the prevalence of accidents and health problems in the Thoroughbred breed, research is ongoing; the typical Thoroughbred ranges from 15.2 to 17.0 hands high. They are most bay, dark bay or brown, black, or gray. Less common colors recognized in the United States include palomino. White is rare, but is a recognized color separate from gray; the face and lower legs may be marked with white, but white will not appear on the body. Coat patterns that have more than one color on the body, such as Pinto or Appaloosa, are not recognized by mainstream breed registries.
Good-quality Thoroughbreds have a well-chiseled head on a long neck, high withers, a deep chest, a short back, good depth of hindquarters, a lean body, long legs. Thoroughbreds are classified among the "hot-blooded" breeds, which are animals bred for agility and speed and are considered spirited and bold. Thoroughbreds born in the Northern Hemisphere are considered a year older on the first of January each year; these artificial dates have been set to enable the standardization of races and other competitions for horses in certain age groups. The Thoroughbred is a distinct breed of horse, although people sometimes refer to a purebred horse of any breed as a thoroughbred; the term for any horse or other animal derived from a single breed line is purebred. While the term came into general use because the English Thoroughbred's General Stud Book was one of the first breed registries created, in modern usage horse breeders consider it incorrect to refer to any animal as a thoroughbred except for horses belonging to the Thoroughbred breed.
Nonetheless, breeders of other species of purebred animals may use the two terms interchangeably, though thoroughbred is less used for describing purebred animals of other species. The term is a proper noun referring to this specific breed, though not capitalized in non-specialist publications, outside the US. For example, the Australian Stud Book, The New York Times, the BBC do not capitalize the word. Flat racing existed in England by at least 1174, when four-mile races took place at Smithfield, in London. Racing continued at fairs and markets throughout the Middle Ages and into the reign of King James I of England, it was that handicapping, a system of adding weight to attempt to equalize a horse's chances of winning as well as improved training procedures, began to be used. During the reigns of Charles II, William III, George I, the foundation of the Thoroughbred was laid; the term "thro-bred" to describe horses was first used in 1713. Under Charles II, a keen racegoer and owner, Anne, royal support was given to racing and the breeding of race horses.
With royal support, horse racing became popular with the public, by 1727, a newspaper devoted to racing, the Racing Calendar, was founded. Devoted to the sport, it recorded race results and advertised upcoming meets. All modern Thoroughbreds trace back to three stallions imported into England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian. Other stallions of oriental breeding were less influential, but still made noteworthy contributions to the breed; these included the Alcock's Arabian, D'Arcy's White Turk, Leedes Arabian, Curwen's Bay Barb. Another was the Brownlow Turk, among other attributes, is thought to be responsible for the gray coat color in Thoroughbreds. In all, about 160 stallions of Oriental breeding have been traced in the historical record as contributing to the creation of the Thoroughbred; the addition of horses of Eastern bloodlines, whether Arabian, Barb, or Turk, to the native English mares led to the creation of the General Stud Book in 1791 and the practice of official registration of horses.
According to Peter Willett, about 50% of the foundation stallions appear to have been of Arabian bloodlines, wit
Precipitation was an influential British bred Thoroughbred stallion, found in the pedigrees of many racehorses and sport horses today. He alone is responsible for maintaining the Matchem sireline, through Sheshoon, except for the American Fair Play branch, he was by Hurry On and out of Double Life, a foundation mare of the famous British stud, Someries Stud. Hurry On, the sire of Precipitation, was unbeaten in his six starts and sired three winners of The Derby during the 1920s. Double Life was a good racemare that won six races worth £5,647 and proved to be an exceptional broodmare, her foals included Casanova, Persian Gulf and Doubleton, the grandam of Meld. Precipitation did not race, he did well on the track, winning seven races including the 1937 Ascot Gold Cup, King Edward VII Stakes, Gratwicke Stakes and Queen's Prize for a total of £18,419. He was successful at stud. During his stud career, which began in 1938, he was one of the leading sires in England, produced over 50 stakes winners, including: Airborne Chamossaire Preciptic winner of 15 races including Druid Stakes, Lonsdale Handicap,Carew Stakes.
Stood at the Irish National Stud from age 7 until he died age 22. Supreme Court Why Hurry Premonition Amber Flash In all Precipitation sired the winners of 431 races for prizemoney of £269,675. Precipitation's daughters produced the winners of 810 races worth £541,370. In New Zealand, his blood lives on through the offspring of four great sons: Admiral's Luck, Count Rendered and Agricola. Precipitation is well known for siring sport horses too, including Furioso, the sire of the influential Furioso II and Cor de la Bryere. Precipitation died on 6 March 1957. Stonebridge, M. A.. Great Horses of Our Time. New York: Doubleday
The Oldenburg is a warmblood horse from the north-western corner of Lower Saxony, what was the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. The breed was built on a mare base of all-purpose farm and carriage horses, today called the Alt-Oldenburger; the modern Oldenburg is managed by the Association of Breeders of the Oldenburger Horse, which enacts strict selection of breeding stock to ensure that each generation is better than the last. Oldenburgers are jumping ability; the breeding of Oldenburg horses is characterized by liberal pedigree requirements and the exclusive use of owned stallions rather than restriction to a state-owned stud farm. Until the 17th century, horses in the region of Oldenburg were small and plain, but strong enough to be used to work the heavy soil of the Frisian coast; these horses would become the foundation of the Oldenburg's neighbors from Holstein to Groningen. One of the first to take a vested interest in organized horse breeding was Count Johann XVI. Johann XVI purchased high-class Frederiksborgers from Denmark, refined Turkish horses and powerful Neapolitan and Andalusian horses for use with his own breeding stock.
His successor, Count Anton Gunther not only brought back from his travels the most desirable horses of the time, but made the stallions available to his tenants. Rigorous stallion inspections were held beginning in 1715 in Ostfrisia, spread to Oldenburg in 1755; such inspections became mandatory under state regulation in 1820. These processes enabled breeders to mold the horses to suit the market. In time, the Oldenburg and its neighbor the Ostfriesen became "luxury horses," stylish, high-stepping carriage horses, though they were practical farm horses as well. What set the Ostfriesen apart was the lack of a state-owned stud farm; as private breeders and stallion owners had and retain greater freedom in purchasing breeding stock, as a result Oldenburg and Ostfriesen horses were exported far and wide. In 1923, the Ostfriesen studbook and Oldenburg studbook merged to form today's Oldenburg Horse Breeders' Association. All the roles that the Alt-Oldenburger played – carriage horse, artillery horse, farm horse – were overtaken in succession by mechanization during the 1940s and 1950s.
However, increased leisure time and expendable income set the stage for recreational riding to come into its own, which it did. Oldenburg breeders changed direction, moving towards producing riding horses of the same renown as their carriage horses; the first foreign stallion imported to improve the riding horse qualities of the Oldenburg mares was Condor, a dark bay Anglo-Norman. He was followed by this time a full Thoroughbred. A veritable slew of Thoroughbred sires were approved for Oldenburg mares over the next 15 years: Manolete xx, Miracolo xx, Guter Gast xx, More Magic xx, Makuba xx, not least of all, Vollkorn xx. Vollkorn xx produced one of Oldenburg's first international sport horses: Volturno, out of a Manolette xx daughter, was a member of the Olympic silver medal-winning Eventing team in 1976. Condor's success encouraged the Oldenburg breeders to choose French sires over German ones. Prominent among these were Furioso II in 1968 and Futuro in 1969, both by Furioso xx, Zeus, by French Anglo-Arabian Arlequin x.
There was the Trakehner, though Trakehners were not used in Oldenburg to the same extent that they were in neighboring Hannover. In 1972 added flair came to the Oldenburg from the French Anglo-Arabian stallion, Inschallah x, who donated his expressive gaits and dry features to his offspring, and technology continued to change the Oldenburg. Advances in artificial insemination techniques meant that stallions did not have to be nearby to be part of the breeding population. Since the 1970s, use of horses from all over Europe has increased exponentially. German Warmbloods like the Hanoverian, Holsteiner and Trakehner, in addition to Dutch Warmbloods and Selle Français continued to modernize the Oldenburg; the slogan of the German Oldenburg Verband is that "Quality is the only standard that counts," evidenced by their liberal acceptance of a wide variety of pedigrees and colors. Unlike other registries that are limited to locally bred horses, or which prefer one color to another, the modern Oldenburg selects stallions and mares based only on their quality as dressage and jumping horses.
Today the Oldenburg Association or Verband has over 220 approved sires and 7000 mares in addition to the 96 sires and 1300 mares that are part of the "Oldenburg International" breeding program for show jumping. These figures make Oldenburg one of the largest studbooks in Germany. Oldenburg is the largest studbook in terms of breeding area; each autumn, the Oldenburg Verband holds the "Stallion Days" in Vechta, during which the young stallions undergo their licensing evaluation. After the results of the licensing are announced, many are auctioned off to new homes at stallion stations, or as gelding prospects bound for performance homes; the "Old Stallion Parade" occurs on the last day, showcasing all the approved, performance tested stallions. However, this event is not just a pageant, as the offspring of mature stallions are subject to intense scrutiny; the best stallions of their age class, based on their offspring, receive a "premium" or award for their achievements in breeding. There are several other auctions throughout the year in Vechta featuring selected youngsters, köraspirants, elite riding horses and broodmares.
The price-toppers at the elite sales fetch over 100,000 Euros. At the mixed sales there are a wider range of horses available; the verband puts on free jumping competitions for young horses. The Oldenburg Verband places special emphasis on mare l
The Selle Français is a breed of sport horse from France. It is renowned for its success in show jumping, but many have been successful in dressage and eventing. An athletic horse with good gaits, it is bay or chestnut in color; the Selle Français was created in 1958 when several French riding horse breeds were merged into one stud book. The new breed was meant to serve as a unified sport horse during a period when horses were being replaced by mechanization and were transforming into an animal used for sport and leisure. Bred throughout France, the Selle Français has been exported worldwide, with additional stud books formed in Great Britain and the United States. Horses registered with the stud books must undergo inspections which judge their conformation and performance. Horses of other breeds who pass the inspections, including those of Thoroughbred, Anglo-Arabian and French Trotter bloodlines, may be used for breeding, with the progeny able to be registered as Selle Français. Selle Français have proven successful at the international level of competition in many equestrian disciplines.
They are most seen in show jumping and dressage, although they are seen in combined driving, equestrian vaulting and competitive trail riding competitions. Selle Français and their riders have won numerous medals in the Summer Olympics and World Equestrian Games, including making up the entire gold-medal French teams in show jumping at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and eventing at the 2004 Summer Olympics; because of the diversity of the breeds that contributed to the Selle Français, there are not set breed standards. It can range from 15.1 to 17.3 hands, because they are used as sport horses, most Selle Français stand a tall 16.1 to 16.3 hands. It is an athletic horse with balanced and powerful gaits; some morphological traits remain the same throughout the breed. The forehead is broad, the facial profile is straight or convex; the neck is strong and rather long, well connected to the withers, the back straight. The croup is elongated and oblique, the powerful hindquarters are an asset in show jumping.
The chest is deep, the shoulders long and sloping. The legs are muscular with wide joints and hard hooves; the Selle Français is bay or chestnut in color, the latter being a legacy of its origins in the Anglo-Norman breed. Gray is much less common, with its origins in the Thoroughbred and Anglo-Arabian horses that contributed to the breed. White markings, such as white on the lower legs, are common within the breed, are again inherited from its Norman ancestors; the temperament of the Selle Français is variable from one horse to another. This is due to the selection criteria for breeding stock, which since the beginning of the breed have been based on physical ability. In recent years, the ANSF and breeders have been working to create selection criteria that focus on temperament; the vast majority of Selle Français have good temperaments, quiet but energetic and friendly. The breed is reputed to be quick to learn; the origins of the Selle Français begin with native French horses. In 19th century Normandy, native mares were crossbred with Thoroughbred or Norfolk Trotter stallions.
The most common crosses were between native mares used by the military, or those bred for pulling carriages, Thoroughbred stallions. In 1914 these types were recognized as demi-sang or "half-blood" horses. Half-blood horses were found in many French regions, different types were named after the regions in which they were bred; the three main types of French saddle horses were the Anglo-Norman, the demi-sang du Centre and the Vendeen. In 1958, "Selle Français" or French Saddle Horse was created by merging all of the regional half-blood horses in France under one name; the merged types included the Anglo-Norman, the Charolais, the Vendeen. The merger was done to create a sport horse that would meet the needs of a mechanized society where horses were used for leisure and sport; the first Selle Français were not homogeneous in type, but offered a wide genetic diversity, due to the wide variety of local horses crossed with Thoroughbreds, Anglo-Arabians and French Trotters. Norman origins, were the most represented, as the Anglo-Norman had been used for breeding throughout France.
Since its creation as a breed, the Selle Français has been selected as a sport horse. Because of this, the breed has homogenized and refined, since its creation has been a successful competitor in international equestrian sport. In July 2003, the Association nationale du selle français was approved as the breed association; the ANSF plays an advocacy role with stakeholders and partners in the equine world and ensures a proper orientation of selection and genetic improvement within the breed. Breeding of Selle Français is centered in Normandy due to its origins in Norman-related bloodlines; as of 2009, there were 7,722 farms that reported breeding activity of Selle Français, although the vast majority were small operations with only one mare. In 2008, there were 7,638 Selle Français foals born, which made up 57 percent of the total saddle horses bred in France. In 2009, over 13,500 Selle Français mares were bred, of which 11,830 were mated to approved stallions to produce Selle Français offspring.
In the same year, there were 505 active Selle Français stallions. The Selle Français is bred throughout France and abroad, artificial insemination