The Commonwealth Games are an international multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930, has taken place every four years since then; the Commonwealth Games were known as the British Empire Games from 1930 to 1950, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games from 1954 to 1966, British Commonwealth Games from 1970 to 1974. It is the world's first multi-sport event which inducted equal number of women’s and men’s medal events and was implemented in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, their creation was inspired by the Inter-Empire Championships, as a part of the Festival of Empire, which were held in London, United Kingdom in 1911. Melville Marks Robinson founded the games as the British Empire Games which were first hosted in Hamilton in 1930. During the 20th and 21st centuries, the evolution of the games movement has resulted in several changes to the Commonwealth Games; some of these adjustments include the creation of the Commonwealth Winter Games for snow and ice sports for the commonwealth athletes, the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games for commonwealth athletes with a disability and the Commonwealth Youth Games for commonwealth athletes aged 14 to 18.
The first edition of the winter games and paraplegic games were held in 1958 and 1962 with their last edition held in 1966 and 1974 and the first youth games were held in 2000. The 1942 and 1946 Commonwealth Games were cancelled because of the Second World War; the Commonwealth Games are overseen by the Commonwealth Games Federation, which controls the sporting programme and selects the host cities. The games movement consists of international sports federations, Commonwealth Games Associations, organising committees for each specific Commonwealth Games. There are several rituals and symbols, such as the Commonwealth Games flag and Queen's Baton, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Over 5,000 athletes compete at the Commonwealth Games in more than 15 different sports and more than 250 events; the first and third-place finishers in each event receive Commonwealth Games medals: gold and bronze, respectively. Apart from many Olympic sports, the games include some sports which are played predominantly in Commonwealth countries but which are not part of the Olympic programme, such as lawn bowls and squash.
Although there are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, 71 teams participate in the Commonwealth Games, as a number of dependent territories compete under their own flags. The four Home Nations of the United Kingdom—England, Scotland and Northern Ireland—also send separate teams. Nineteen cities in nine countries have hosted the event. Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games five times. Two cities have hosted Commonwealth Games more than once: Auckland and Edinburgh. Only six countries have attended every Commonwealth Games: Australia, England, New Zealand and Wales. Australia has been the highest achieving team for twelve games, England for seven, Canada for one; the most recent Commonwealth Games were held in Gold Coast from 4 to 15 April 2018. The next Commonwealth Games are to be held in Birmingham from 27 July to 7 August 2022. A sporting competition bringing together the members of the British Empire was first proposed by John Astley Cooper in 1900, when he wrote an article in The Times suggesting a "Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire".
John Astley Cooper Committees were formed worldwide and helped Pierre de Coubertin to get his international Olympic Games off the ground. In 1911, the Festival of the Empire was held at The Crystal Palace in London to celebrate the coronation of George V; as part of the Festival of the Empire, an Inter-Empire Championships were held in which teams from Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom competed in athletics, boxing and swimming events. Canada won the championships and was gifted a silver cup, 2 feet 6 inch high and weighed 340 oz, it was gifted by Lord Lonsdale. However, the 1911 championships were followed by the first world war which happened from 1914 to 1918; the organisers had lost hopes of hosting such sporting events for the empire athletes. Melville Marks Robinson, who went to the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam to serve as the manager of the Canadian track and field team lobbied for the proposal of organising the first British Empire Games in Hamilton in 1930; the 1930 British Empire Games were the first of what become known as the Commonwealth Games, were held in Hamilton, in the province of Ontario in Canada from 16–23 August 1930.
Eleven countries sent a total of 400 athletes to the Hamilton Games. The opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletics took place at Civic Stadium; the participant nations were Australia, British Guyana, England, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales. The Hamilton Games featured six sports: athletics, lawn bowls, rowing and diving and wrestling and ran at a cost of $97,973. Women competed in only the aquatic events. Canadian triple jumper Gordon Smallacombe won the first gold medal in the history of the Games; the 1934 British Empire Games were the second of what is now known as the Commonwealth Games, held in London, England. The host city was London, with the main venue at Wembley Park, although the track cycling events were in Manchester; the 1934 Games had been awarded to Johannesburg, but were giv
2016 Summer Olympics
The 2016 Summer Olympics known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and known as Rio 2016, was an international multi-sport event, held from 5 to 21 August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, with preliminary events in some sports beginning on 3 August. These were the first Olympic Games to be held in South America and the second to be held in a developing country, after the 1968 games in Mexico City. More than 11,000 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees, including first time entrants Kosovo, South Sudan, the Refugee Olympic Team, took part. With 306 sets of medals, the games featured 28 Olympic sports, including rugby sevens and golf, which were added to the Olympic program in 2009; these sporting events took place at 33 venues in the host city, at five separate venues in the Brazilian cities of São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus. These were the first Summer Olympic Games to take place under the International Olympic Committee presidency of Thomas Bach; the host city Rio de Janeiro was announced at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 October 2009.
Rio became the first South American city to host the Olympic Games. These were the first games to be held in a Portuguese-speaking country, the first summer edition to be held in the host country's winter season, the first since 1968 to be held in Latin America, the first since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere; the lead-up to these Games was marked by controversies, including the Brazil's political and economic crisis. However, nobody competing in or attending the Olympics contracted the Zika virus and the Games took place without any major incident; the United States topped the medal table, winning the most gold and overall medals, 46 and 121, as well as its 1,000th Summer Olympic gold medal overall. Great Britain finished second and became the first country of modern Olympics history to increase its tally of medals in the subsequent games after being the host nation. China finished third. Host country Brazil won seven gold medals, its most at any single Summer Olympics, finishing in thirteenth place.
Bahrain, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Tajikistan, Ivory Coast and Vietnam each won their first gold medals, as did the group of Independent Olympic Athletes. The process for the 2016 Olympic Games was launched on 16 May 2007; the first step for each city was to submit an initial application to the International Olympic Committee by 13 September 2007, confirming their intention to bid. Completed official bid files, containing answers to a 25-question IOC form, were to be submitted by each 14 January 2008. Four candidate cities were chosen for the shortlist on 4 June 2008: Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and will host again in 2020; the IOC did not promote Doha to the candidature phase, despite scoring higher than selected candidate city Rio de Janeiro, because of their intent of hosting the Olympics in October, outside of the IOC's sporting calendar. Prague and Baku failed to make the cut. Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco headed the 10-member Evaluation Commission, having chaired the evaluation commission for the 2012 Summer Olympics bids.
The commission made on-site inspections in the second quarter of 2009. They issued a comprehensive technical appraisal for IOC members on 2 September, one month before elections. Many restrictions are in place designed to prevent bidding cities from communicating with or influencing directly the 115 voting members. Cities may not invite any IOC member to visit nor may they send anything that could be construed as a gift. Nonetheless, bidding cities invest large sums in their PR and media programs in an attempt to indirectly influence the IOC members by garnering domestic support, support from sports media and general international media; the final voting was held on 2 October 2009, in Copenhagen with Madrid and Rio de Janeiro perceived as favourites to land the games. Chicago and Tokyo were eliminated after the first and second rounds of voting while Rio de Janeiro took a significant lead over Madrid heading into the final round; the lead held and Rio de Janeiro was announced as host of 2016 Summer Olympics.
On 26 June 2011, it was reported on AroundTheRings.com that Roderlei Generali, the COO of the Rio de Janeiro Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, resigned just one year after taking the job at ROOC. This comes. Pestana withdrew during the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Renato Ciuchin was appointed as COO. Events took place at eighteen existing venues, nine new venues constructed for the Games, seven temporary venues; each event was held in one of four geographically segregated Olympic clusters: Barra, Copacabana and Maracanã. The same was done for the 2007 Pan American Games. Several of the venues were located at the Barra Cluster Olympic Park. Athletes could access their venues in shorter than ten minutes and about 75 percent could do so in less than 25 minutes. Of the 34 competition locations, eight of them underwent permanent works, seven were limited, nine were perpetual legacy venues; the largest venue at the games in terms of seating capacity was the 74,738-seat Maracanã Stadium, which served as the ceremonies venue and site of the football finals.
The second largest stadium was the 60,000-seat Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, which hosted track and field events. The athletes' village was said to be the largest in Olympic history. Fittings inc
New Zealand Order of Merit
The New Zealand Order of Merit is an order of merit in New Zealand's honours system. It was established by royal warrant on 30 May 1996 by Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, "for those persons who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, contributions or other merits", to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity. In the order of precedence, the New Zealand Order of Merit ranks after the Order of New Zealand. Prior to 1996 New Zealanders received appointments to various British orders, such as the Order of the Bath, the Order of St Michael and St George, the Order of the British Empire, the Order of the Companions of Honour, as well as the distinction of Knight Bachelor; the change came about after the Prime Minister's Honours Advisory Committee was created "to consider and present options and suggestions on the structure of a New Zealand Royal Honours System in New Zealand, designed to recognise meritorious service and bravery and long service".
The monarch of New Zealand is the Sovereign of the order and the Governor-General is its Chancellor. Appointments are made at five levels: Knight or Dame Grand Companion Knight or Dame Companion Companion Officer Member; the number of Knights and Dames Grand Companion is limited to 30 living people. Additionally, new appointments are limited to 15 Knights or Dames Companion, 40 Companions, 80 Officers and 140 Members per year; as well as the five levels, there are three different types of membership. Ordinary membership is limited to citizens of a Commonwealth realm. "Additional" members, appointed on special occasions, are not counted in the numerical limits. People who are not citizens of a Commonwealth realm are given "Honorary" membership. There is a Secretary and Registrar and a Herald of the Order; the Collar, worn only by the Sovereign and Chancellor, comprises "links of the central medallion of the badge" and "S"-shaped Koru, with the Coat of Arms of New Zealand in centre. Hanging from the Coat of Arms is the badge of the Order.
The Star is an eight-pointed star with each arm bearing a representation of a fern frond, with the Order's badge superimposed in the centre. Grand Companions wear Knight Companions wear a silver star; the Badge for the three highest classes is a gold and white enamel cross with curved edges bearing at its centre the coat of arms of New Zealand within a green enamel ring bearing the motto For Merit Tohu Hiranga, topped by a royal crown. The badge for Officers and Members in silver-gilt and silver respectively. Grand Companions wear the badge on a sash over the right shoulder. Officers and Members wear the badge from a bow on the left shoulder; the ribbon and sash are plain red ochre. Knight/Dames Grand Companion and Knight/Dames Companion are entitled to use the style Sir for males and Dame for females; the order's statutes grant heraldic privileges to members of the first and second level, who are entitled to have the Order's circlet surrounding their shield. Grand Companions are entitled to heraldic supporters.
The Chancellor is entitled to supporters and a representation of the Collar of the Order around his/her shield. Sovereign: The Queen Chancellor and Principal Dame Grand Companion: The Governor-General Knights and Dames Grand Companion:Officials:Two positions, were created in the Statutes of the Order with all appointments published in the New Zealand Gazette. Secretary and Registrar: Michael L. C. Webster Herald: Philip O'Shea From 2000 to 2009, the two highest levels of the Order were Principal Companion and Distinguished Companion, without the appellation of "Sir" or "Dame"; the following contains the names of the small number of members of the grades Principal Companion and Distinguished Companion who chose not to convert their appointment to a Knight or Dame Grand Companion, or Knight or Dame Companion, thus not to accept the respective appellation of "Sir" or "Dame". The majority of those affected chose the aforereferenced appellations. A change to non-titular honours was a recommendation contained within the original report of the 1995 honours committee which prompted the creation of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Titular honours were incorporated into the new system before its implementation in 1996 after the National Party caucus and public debate were split as to whether titles should be retained. There has long been debate in New Zealand regarding the appropriateness of titles; some feel it is no longer appropriate as New Zealand has not been a colony since 1907, to these people titles are out of step with present-day New Zealand. Others feel that titles carry both domestic and international recognition, that awarded on the basis of merit they remain an appropriate recognition of excellence. In April 2000 the new Labour Prime Minister, Helen Clark, announced that knighthoods and damehoods had been abolished and the order's statutes amended. From 2000 to 2009
Ian Ferguson (canoeist)
Ian Gordon Ferguson, is New Zealand's most successful Olympian, competing in K1, K2, K4 kayak events. He first competed at the Montreal, Canada Olympic Games in 1976 and again at Moscow, Russia Olympic Games in 1980. Ian Ferguson was born in Taumarunui and was a successful sportsperson at school achieving in running and rugby, he was good at water sports, becoming a Palmerston North Boys High School's swimming champion. At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles he won three gold medals. In the same year he was named New Zealand sportsperson of the year. In the 1985 New Year Honours, Ferguson was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to canoeing. New Zealand's flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics, he went on to win another gold medal and a silver medal at that Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, he was the first New Zealander to compete in five Olympic Games and his four gold medals is still the New Zealand record for an individual haul at the Games.
His five Olympic medals is the record for the most Olympic medals won by a New Zealander, a record he shares with fellow canoeist Paul MacDonald, equestrian Mark Todd. In 1990 Ferguson started a kayak hire business named Ferg's Kayaks. Ferguson starred in the NZ TV show Clash of the Codes, having been in the winning team on two occasions; as of 2009 Ferguson is fronting the campaign to build an international whitewater canoeing stadium in Manukau City. Ferguson and his sons would run the facility. Ferguson's son, Steven Ferguson, has represented New Zealand at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, both in canoeing and swimming events
Steeplechase (horse racing)
A steeplechase is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles. Steeplechasing is conducted in Ireland, the United Kingdom, United States and France; the name is derived from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside. Modern usage of the term "steeplechase" differs between countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it refers only to races run over large, fixed obstacles, in contrast to "hurdle" races where the obstacles are much smaller; the collective term "jump racing" or "National Hunt racing" is used when referring to steeplechases and hurdle races collectively. Elsewhere in the world, "steeplechase" is used to refer to any race; the most famous steeplechase in the world is the Grand National run annually at Aintree Racecourse, in Liverpool, since its inception in 1836, which in 2014 offered a prize fund of £1 million.
The steeplechase originated in Ireland in the 18th century as an analogue to cross-country thoroughbred horse races which went from church steeple to church steeple, hence "steeplechase". The first steeplechase is said to have been the result of a wager in 1752 between Cornelius O'Callaghan and Edmund Blake, racing four miles cross-country from St John's Church in Buttevant to St Mary's Church in Doneraile, in Cork, Ireland. An account of the race was believed to have been in the library of the O'Briens of Dromoland Castle. Most of the earlier steeplechases were contested cross-country rather than on a track, resembled English cross country as it exists today; the first recorded steeplechase over a prepared track with fences was run at Bedford in 1810, although a race had been run at Newmarket in 1794 over a mile with five-foot bars every quarter mile. and the first recorded steeplechase of any kind in England took place in Leicestershire in 1792, when three horses raced the eight miles from Barkby Holt to Billesdon Coplow and back.
The first recorded hurdle race took place at Durdham Down near Bristol in 1821. There were 5 hurdles on the mile long course, the race was run in three heats; the first recognised English National Steeplechase took place on Monday 8 March 1830. The 4-mile race, organised by Thomas Coleman of St Albans, was run from Bury Orchard, Harlington in Bedfordshire to the Obelisk in Wrest Park, Bedfordshire; the winner was Captain Macdowall on "The Wonder", owned by Lord Ranelagh, who won in a time of 16 minutes 25 seconds. Report of the event appeared in the May and July editions of Sporting Magazine in 1830. In Great Britain and Ireland, "steeplechase" only refers to one branch of jump racing. Collectively, Great Britain and Ireland account for over 50% of all jump races worldwide, carding 4,800 races over fences in 2008. Jump racing in Great Britain and Ireland is known as National Hunt racing. French jump racing is similar to British and Irish National Hunt races, with a few notable differences. Hurdles are not collapsible.
Chases have large fences called bullfinches, a large hedge up to 8 ft tall that horses have to jump through rather than over. There are a larger number of cross-country chases where horses have to jump up and down banks, gallop through water, jump over stone walls as well as jump normal chasing fences. Unlike in most countries where the thoroughbred is exclusively used for jump racing, many of the horses in French jump racing are AQPS, a breed of horse developed in France crossing thoroughbreds with saddle horses and other local breeds. Auteuil in Paris is the best known racecourse in France for French jump racing; the Velká pardubická Steeplechase in Pardubice in the Czech Republic is the location of one of the longest steeplechase races in Europe. The first Velka Pardubice Steeplechase was held on 5 November 1874 and it has been hosted annually since. In the United States, there are two forms of steeplechasing: timber. Hurdle races occur always over the National fences, standardized plastic and steel fences that are 52 inches tall, with traditional natural fences of packed pine and live hedges in use on a few courses.
National fences stand 52 inches tall at the highest point, but are made of synthetic "brush" that can be brushed through. The hurdle horse is trained to jump in as much of a regular stride as possible; this allows the horse to maintain its speed upon landing. Since it is not always possible to meet a fence in stride, the horses are schooled in how to jump out of stride. An out of stride jump can decrease a horse's speed drastically. Hurdle races are run at distances of 2–3 miles. Hurdle races occur at steeplechase meets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast and on the turf courses of several racetracks – Saratoga, Colonial Downs, Penn National, Monmouth Park and others. Timber racing is conducted over solid and immovable wooden rail fences that, in the most extreme case, may reach five feet high; the distances are longer, ranging from three to four miles, the jumping effort required of the horse is much different. Because of the size of the fences and their solid and unyielding construction, a timber horse is trained to jump with an arc, unlike a hurdle racer.
An important factor in success at timber racing is for th
A jockey is someone who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing as a profession. The word applies to camel riders in camel racing; the word is by origin a diminutive of jock, the Northern English or Scots colloquial equivalent of the first name John, used generically for "boy" or "fellow", at least since 1529. A familiar instance of the use of the word as a name is in "Jockey of Norfolk" in Shakespeare's Richard III. v. 3, 304. In the 16th and 17th centuries the word was applied to horse-dealers, itinerant minstrels and vagabonds, thus bore the meaning of a cunning trickster, a "sharp", whence the verb to jockey, "to outwit", or "to do" a person out of something; the current meaning of a person who rides a horse in races was first seen in 1670. Another possible origin is the Gaelic word eachaidhe, a "horseman"; the Irish name Eochaid is related to each "horse" and is translated as "horse rider". This is phonetically similar to jockey. Jockeys must be light to ride at the weights. There are horse carrying weight limits.
The Kentucky Derby, for example, has a weight limit of 126 lb including the jockey's equipment. The weight of a jockey ranges from 108 to 118 lb. Despite their light weight, they must be able to control a horse, moving at 40 mph and weighs 1,200 lb. Though there is no height limit for jockeys, they are fairly short due to the weight limits. Jockeys stand around 4 ft 10 in to 5 ft 6 in. Jockeys are self employed, nominated by horse trainers to ride their horses in races, for a fee and a percentage of the purse winnings. In Australia, employment of apprentice jockeys is in terms of indenture to a master; when an apprentice jockey finishes their apprenticeship and becomes a "fully fledged jockey", the nature of their employment and insurance requirements change because they are regarded as "freelance", like contractors. Jockeys cease their riding careers to take up other employment in racing as trainers. In this way the apprenticeship system serves to induct young people into racing employment. Jockeys start out when they are young, riding work in the morning for trainers, entering the riding profession as apprentice jockeys.
It is necessary for an apprentice jockey to ride a minimum of about 20 barrier trials before being permitted to ride in races. An apprentice jockey is known as a "bug boy" because the asterisk that follows the name in the program looks like a bug. All jockeys must be licensed and are not permitted to bet on a race. An apprentice jockey has a master, a horse trainer, the apprentice is allowed to "claim" weight off the horse's back: in handicapped races, more experienced riders will have their horses given an extra amount of weight to carry, whereas a jockey in their apprenticeship will have less weight on their horse, giving trainers an incentive to hire these less-experienced jockeys; this weight allowance is adjusted according to the number of winners. After a four-year indentured apprenticeship, the apprentice becomes a senior jockey and develops relationships with trainers and individual horses. Sometimes senior jockeys are paid a retainer by an owner which gives the owner the right to insist the jockey ride their horses in races.
Racing modeled on the English Jockey Club spread throughout the world with colonial expansion. The colors worn by jockeys in races are the registered "colors" of the owner or trainer who employs them; the practice of riders wearing colors stems from medieval times when jousts were held between knights. However, the origins of racing colors of various patterns may have been influenced by racing held in Italian city communities since medieval times; such traditional events are still held on town streets and are known for furious riding and the colorful spectacle they offer. While the term "silks" is used in the United States to refer to racing colors, technically "silks" are the white breeches and bib, stock or cravat. Obtaining them is a rite of passage when a jockey is first able to don silken pants and colors in their first race ride. At one time silks were invariably made of silk chosen for being a lightweight fabric, though now synthetics are used instead. Silks and their colors are important symbols of festivity.
Various awards are given annually by organizations affiliated with the sport of thoroughbred racing in countries throughout the world. They include: Australia Scobie Breasley Medal Canada Avelino Gomez Memorial Award United Kingdom Lester Award Champion Flat Jockey Award Champion Jump Jockey Award United States George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award Isaac Murphy Award Horse racing is a sport where jockeys may incur permanent and life-threatening injuries. Chief among them include concussion, bone fractures, arthritis and paralysis. Jockey insurance premiums remain among the highest of all professional sports. Between 1993 and 1996, 6,545 injuries occurred during official races for an injury rate of 606 per 1,000 jockey years. In Australia race riding is regarded as being the second most deadly job, after offshore fishing. From 2002 to 2006 five deaths and 861 serious injuries were recorded. Eating disorders are very common among jockeys, as they face extreme pressure to maintain unusually low weights for men, som
The Percheron is a breed of draft horse that originated in the Huisne river valley in western France, part of the former Perche province from which the breed takes its name. Gray or black in color, Percherons are well muscled, known for their intelligence and willingness to work. Although their exact origins are unknown, the ancestors of the breed were present in the valley by the 17th century, they were bred for use as war horses. Over time, they began to be used for pulling stagecoaches and for agriculture and hauling heavy goods. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Arabian blood was added to the breed. Exports of Percherons from France to the United States and other countries rose exponentially in the late 19th century, the first purely Percheron stud book was created in France in 1883. Before World War I, thousands of Percherons were shipped from France to the United States, but after the war began, an embargo stopped shipping; the breed was used extensively in Europe during the war, with some horses being shipped from the US back to France to help in the war effort.
Beginning in 1918, Percherons began to be bred in Great Britain, in 1918 the British Percheron Horse Society was formed. After a series of name and studbook ownership changes, the current US Percheron registry was created in 1934. In the 1930s, Percherons accounted for 70 percent of the draft horse population in the United States, but their numbers declined after World War II. However, the population began to recover and as of 2009, around 2,500 horses were registered annually in the United States alone; the breed is still used extensively for draft work, in France they are used for food. They have been crossed with several light horse breeds to produce horses for range work and competition. Purebred Percherons are used for forestry work and pulling carriages, as well as work under saddle, including competition in English riding disciplines such as show jumping; the size considered ideal for the Percheron varies between countries. In France, height ranges from weight from 1,100 to 2,600 pounds.
Percherons in the United States stand between 16.2 and 17.3 hands, with a range of 15–19 hands. American Percherons average 1,900 pounds, their top weight is around 2,600 pounds. In Great Britain, 16.2 hands is the shortest acceptable height for stallions and 16.1 hands for mares, while weights range from around 2,000–2,200 pounds for stallions and 1,800–2,000 pounds for mares. They are gray or black in coloring, although the American registry allows the registration of roan and chestnut horses. Only gray or black horses may be registered in Britain. Many horses have white markings on their heads and legs, but registries consider excessive white to be undesirable; the head has broad forehead, large eyes and small ears. The chest is deep and wide and the croup long and level; the feet and legs are clean and muscled. The overall impression of the Percheron is one of power and ruggedness. Enthusiasts describe the temperament as proud and alert, members of the breed are considered intelligent, willing workers with good dispositions.
They adapt well to many conditions and climates. In the 19th century, they were known to travel up to 60 kilometres a day at a trot. Horses in the French registry are branded on the neck with the intertwined letters "SP", the initials of the Société Hippique Percheronne; the Percheron breed originated in the Huisne river valley in France, which arises in Orne, part of the former Perche province, from which the breed gets its name. Several theories have been put forth as to the ancestry of the breed, though its exact origins are unknown. One source of foundation bloodstock may have been mares captured by Clovis I from the Bretons some time after 496 AD, another may have been Arabian stallions brought to the area by Muslim invaders in the 8th century. Other possibilities are captured Moorish cavalry horses from the Battle of Poitiers in 732 AD, some of which were taken by warriors from Perche. A final theory posits that the Percheron and the Boulonnais breed are related, that the Boulonnais influenced the Percheron when they were brought to Brittany as reinforcements for the legions of Caesar.
It is known that during the 8th century, Arabian stallions were crossed with mares native to the area, more Oriental horse blood was introduced by the Comte du Perche upon his return from the Crusades and expeditions into territory claimed by Spain. Blood from Spanish breeds was added. No matter the theory of origin, breed historians agree that the terrain and climate of the Perche area had the greatest influence on the development of the breed. A possible reference to the horse is made in the 13th-century romance Guillaume de Dole, in which the title character asks for "the Count of Perche's horse" to be made ready indicating the "'great horse,' which could accommodate an armored knight" and was bred in the geographical setting of the poem. During the 17th century, horses from Perche, the ancestors of the current Percheron, were smaller, standing between 15 and 16 hands high, more agile; these horses were uniformly gray. After the days of the armored knight, the emphasis in horse breeding was shifted so as to develop horses better able to pull heavy stage coaches at a fast trot.
Gray horses were preferred