|Country of origin:||France|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
Originally from the Côte-d'Or and Yonne region of France, the Auxois breed is a descendant of the old Burgundian horse, dating back to the Middle Ages. There are very few left, although efforts are being made to maintain the breed, particularly around the Cluny Stud and the fertile areas of Yonne and Saône-et-Loire.
In the 19th century there was an infusion of Boulonnais and Percheron blood, as well as the Ardennais and Trait Du Nord, which increased the overall size of the Auxois. They are closely related to the Ardennes, and since the beginning of the 20th century, only Ardennais blood has been used to improve the Auxois. They are now somewhat larger in height then the Ardennes and both breeds are selectively bred for the horsemeat market due to their mass.
The Auxois were widely used in the transport industry and, with the advent of mechanisation, suffered dramatically in numbers, like many of the draft breeds. Today they are strictly protected and monitored by the Syndicat du Cheval de Trait Ardennais de L'Ausoix which is based in Dijon, and has kept the breed's studbook since 1913.
The Auxois have a kind, quiet and biddable temperament which, combined with endurance, makes them highly suitable for heavy draft and farm work. In appearance, they are typically either bay or roan in colour, although can sometimes be chestnut.
They stand between 15 and 16.2 hands high, and weigh 1,650-2,425 lbs. They usually have a light, with a broad forehead and small alert ears. They are very stoutly built, having a short, thickset neck, flattish withers, and a wide and deep chest. Generally they are broad through the back, and have a long, sloping, muscular croup with a low-set tail. The shoulders are also reasonably sloping which allows for good freedom of movement in all gaits.
The horses have particularly powerful legs which are slender in proportion to their body size, with a very muscular forearm and short, dense cannon bones. Many horses are branded with the letters TX on the left side of the neck.
Compared to the Ardennes, the Auxois are finer in the legs and have smaller hindquarters. They are not heavily feathered and can move surprisingly freely and quickly for their bulk. They are well-built and, like the Ardennes, have an enormous pulling capacity.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Bongianni, Maurizio (1988). Simon & Schuster's Guide to Horses and Ponies. Simon & Schuster, Inc.. pp. 91. ISBN 0671660683.