The British Camargue Horse Society represents the Camargue Breed in Britain by:-
The organisation is run by Sarah Robertson who as owner and breeder aims to promote and protect this ancient rare breed of horse in Britain. If you own a pure, or part bred Camargue horse, which we do not know about, please let us know.
British Camargue Horse Society
THE CAMARGUE HORSE
The Camargue Horse is a small rugged intelligent animal renowned throughout France for its strength and versatility. Over the centuries the Camargue Horse has survived the extremely harsh environment of the Rhone Delta, exposed to extremes of hot sun and insects in the summer and the cold of the legendary Mistral wind in the winter. The breed is probably best known throughout the world for its colour, but in fact the foals are born black or brown, with only a white star. The famous white coat does not start to develop until after their first year.
HISTORY OF THE BREED
The Camargue region is an area populated by many animals and few people where until modern times the horses have run free in the salty marshland. This regime of natural selection in a harsh environment means that only the best have survived. The exact origins are vague, some historians feel that it closely resembles the solutrean horse from 50,000 B.C. Others think that it has Arab or Asian blood, however historical papers show that the breed was known to the Phoenecians and well famed throughout the Roman Empire. In a letter dated 399 AD Symmachus the prefect of Rome asks Bassus a land owner in the Camargue to supply some sturdy steeds for his son to use in a race in one of the Roman Circuses. Later Napoleon 1st used them as cavalry horses and Ferdinand de Lesseps employed them as working animals during the construction of the Suez Canal in the 1860s.
In 1976 the French Government ensured that the exceptional qualities were preserved and not diluted by cross breeding, by setting standards and registering all the main breeders of the Camargue horse. The true Camargue area is defined as a triangle of Monpellier in the west, Tarascon in the North and Fos Sur Mer in the East. Foals must be born within this area to be registered "Sous Berceau". Any foals born outside this area either in France or abroad are registered "Hors Berceau" (out of the birth place) In order to be registered the foals must be born outdoors, and the herd must have a minimum area of land per animal. A government representative visits each herd in October for the "Marquage" (the branding) Each foal must be seen to suckle from its mother as proof of its parentage and then it is branded on its quarters with the symbol of the Manade (Herd),a letter showing the year it was born, E for 1992, F for 1993 etc. and an identification number. The foal is then registered in the Stud Book.
Camargue Horses are very similar to Lippizana Horses, but smaller.
The Camargue is a small horse 13.2 - 14.2 h.h. with a light grey coat and full mane and tail. It has a large head with a flat forehead and a tendency towards a Roman nose. It has a short neck, deep chest, compact body and well jointed strong limbs with broad based hard wearing hoofs, meaning they seldom need shoes. The mares are usually smaller than geldings or stallions. They have a low set tail, and well developed hind quarters.
Traditionally the Camargue horse is the every day companion and work horse of the "Gardians" cowboys who tend the herds of black cattle in the Camargue, but the association goes further than just working companions and no saint's day celebrations in the area would be complete without the spectacular processions and games organised by the Gardians and their horses. Camargue stallion and foal
The agility and stamina of the animals has been recognised outside the Camargue, and these small horses are now used for:
Horseball and other equestrian games, dressage, high school, driving and long distance riding, which is now very popular in France.
Thir ability to learn quickly makes them ideal for teaching every branch of equitation. Their versatility and size also makes them the ideal family pony.
STANDARD CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CAMARGUE HORSE
Extract translated from the statement issued by the French Ministry of Agriculture, 17 March 1978.