The Camargue ponies are
from the Rhone delta of Southern France and are an ancient breed,
thought to be descendants of the prehistoric Solutr' horse. They
display some characteristics of the horses depicted in the Lascaux
cave drawings dating back to 15,000 B.C., especially in the shape
of their heads. They were influenced by the Barb horses brought
over during Moorish invasions in the 7th to 8th centuries, but have
since remained unchanged due to the geographical isolation of their
The Camargue lives in feral
herds on the swampy marshland of the Rhone delta, where they live
a harsh existence. They survive on salty reeds and rough grass and
rarely receive supplementary food. The area is subjected to extremes
of climate, and these environmental factors have contributed immensely
toward their incredible toughness and hardiness.
These ponies are mostly
used by the Camargue cowboys, also known as guardians, for working
the wild black bulls of the area, which are commonly used in local
bullfights. The horses are also used as pack ponies and as tourist
trekking ponies. In spite of the breed's history, the Camargue pony
did not receive official recognition until 1968 when their association
was formed. Since that time, regular stallion inspections take place.
have a large and heavy head with pronounced jaws, an extremely short
neck, and a fairly upright shoulder. The conformation of their shoulders
allows for a good high- stepping walk, but the trot is very stilted
and rarely used. They have a good free-flowing canter and gallop.
Often they exhibit a short, strong back, with a sloping croup and
a low-set tail. Their legs are strong and muscular with very hard
hooves. They are quite heavy in frame with a good depth of girth
and a very powerful build. Agile and athletic, they have a good
temperament, and tend to be extremely bold. The Camargue is slow
to develop, not reaching maturity until five or six years of age,
but is also lives for a very long time. The foals are born dark
and lighten with age - nearly all adult Camargue ponies are gray
and are branded with the breed brand, which is a 'C' in a shield.
They can stand up to 14 hands high.
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