Recreating the Spanish Norman Horse Breed
The Spanish-Norman horse breed is one of the most recent luxury and sports horse breeds today. In fact, the registry for this particular horse breed only began more or less two decades ago. The historical origins however of the foundation breeds of the Spanish-Norman breed, spans several centuries.
The modern Spanish-Norman horse breed is actually the product of the interbreeding of the Spanish Andalusian and the French Percheron. Both horse breeds have a long history and regal origins. The Percheron in particular descended from the Norman horse which in turn shared common Spanish influence as the Andalusian. The Norman horses were specifically bred as war horses that were ridden by heavily armored knights and pitted against the foreign Barb of the Moors.
Eventually though, the Moors lost ground to the European knights. As a result, many Barb horses were captured and interbred with Norman horses. The union of two horse breeds resulted in the Percheron. Since the Norman horse breed is now extinct, it is only the Percheron that remains as a testament to the strength, agility and endurance of medieval war horses.
As with all other war horse breeds, both the Norman and the Percheron became the victims of changing times. They may have been quite popular during the early medieval ages but emerging inventions and tools of war made these warhorses redundant. Eventually lighter riding horses were preferred by cavalry who did not wear heavy armors and who used guns instead of broadswords. This may have been one of the main reasons why other war horse breeds also suffered reduced numbers.
The large war horses that did survive the changing times experienced a change in roles. Instead of being used in battlefields, they found work in agricultural fields. The big draft horses of Europe today trace their origins to medieval war horses.
Today, there is no danger of sliding back into the backward practice of using horses for war. If this is the case, why was the Norman war horse recreated in the modern Spanish-Norman breed? This is a question best addressed to the breeders themselves. It is obvious though from the appearance of these horses alone that breeders perhaps simply could not help but fall in love with the breed. The powerful Percheron influence is apparent in its form subtly combined with the flawless elegance of the Andalusian.
Spanish-Norman horses have refined heads, long necks, long legs, short backs, wide chests and muscled quarters. The seamless blend of physical traits is made even more obvious as the horses of these breed tower close to 17 hands. With traits like these, there is no doubt that the Spanish-Norman is a horse to beat in the sports arena. The horse breed is an athletic breed excelling in driving, dressage and jumping. Of course, the natural beauty of the breed also makes it a perfect horse for shows.