The Poitevin (French pronunciation: [pwat(ə)vɛ̃]) or Poitou is a French breed of draft horse. It is named for its area of origin, the former province of Poitou in west-central France, now a part of the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It was formed in the seventeenth century when horses of Flemish or Dutch origin, brought to the area by engineers working to drain the Marais Poitevin, interbred with local horses. Although it has the size and conformation of a draft horse, the Poitevin has never been bred for draft abilities, and has been little used for draft work. Its principal traditional use was the production of mules. Poitevin mares were put to jacks of the large Baudet du Poitou breed of donkey; the resulting Poitevin mules were in demand for agricultural and other work in many parts of the world, including Russia and the United States.:271 In the early twentieth century there were some 50,000 brood mares producing between 18,000 and 20,000 mules per year.:156The Poitevin is an endangered breed;:44 in 2011 there were just over 300 breeding animals, of which about 40 were stallions.:496 The horses may be of any solid coat color, including striped dun, a color not seen in other French draft horses. The Poitevin is a slow-growing breed with heavy bone, and is not suitable for meat production.
Also known as
This breed is also called Cheval Du Poitou, Mulassier, Poitevin, Poitevin Horse, Poitevin Mulassier, Trait Mulassier as well as Trait Poitevin Mulassier.
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