Name of breed: Freiberger or Franches-Montagnes
Country of origin: Switzerland
Breed origin: The Freiberger breed originates from the hillside Jura region of western Switzerland that lies on the French border. Whilst it was first bred as a mountain horse on the small farms in the region, it has since been moved to the Swiss National Stud Farm in Avenches but has retained its characteristics. Since being bred at the National Stud, the breed can now be traced back to one stallion – ‘Vaillant’ who was a great-grandson to an English-bred stallion. The grand-dam on both sides was Anglo-Norman and Thoroughbred. Although the Freiberger was later crossed with other French, English and Belgian horses, they had no lasting effects on the breed’s characteristics.
Today there is a focus on producing two types of the breed a smaller but lighter Freiberger for riding, as well a heavier version to be used as a workhorse.
Distinguishing features: The Freiberger was originally a mountain-bred horse and are known for being a sure-footed and an active mover with a good nature. The powerfully built horse with a short, well-muscled body made it perfect for mountain climbing. The breed is also known for having strong limbs and feet with hardy feet with a well-rounded back end that travels to a deep chest; perfect for heavy loads.
The Freiberger breed usually stands at around 15 hands and the coat colourings are plain (bay, dark bay and chestnut) with white markings.
Modern day Freiberger: The Freiberger can still be found working in the mountains, however, since being regulated by the national stud, the breed can also be used for riding and carriage driving.
Reference: Horse Encyclopedia Book
Image credit: Pinterest, Freiberger-pferde, Roflexs Fahrteam