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The Auxois Draft horse has a calm and gentle temperament with gaits that are ample and supple in spite of the great bulk of this horse.
The Auxois horse, a draft horse of France, is the heir of the old horse of Burgundy, and has been a contemporary of the Ardennais since the Middle Ages. The Auxois is closely related to the Ardennais type. The Auxois is the result of crossbreeding between local mares of Burgundy and Ardennais sires, plus the inclusion in the 1800’s of Northern Ardennais, Percheron and Boulonnaise crosses. However during the 1900’s only the Ardennais and Northern Ardennais were used.
The Ardennais evolved in the mountain range of the same name and was used by Belgium, France and Sweden to form their own distinct variations from this important root stock.
The main breeding area of the Auxois horse in France is around the Cluny stud, and area that is slightly hilly and fertile with rich pastures. Although the population of the Auxois horse has remained small, the stud book has been kept since 1913.
The Auxois horse is larger than the Ardennais, although it is less massive in the legs and quarters than the Ardennais. It has also retained its red-roan color, although there are bays. Grays and blacks are excluded from the studbook.
The Auxois head is short with a wide forehead and small ears, with a neck that is muscular and well set. The body is Massive with prominent withers, a wide chest and wide, short back and loins. The hindquarters are long with very muscular croup, with a tail that is carried low. Height ranges from 15.2 to 16.2 hands. This is a breed designed for heavy draft and farm work and for the national meat market (yielding a heavy carcass).
The shoulder of the Auxois horse is well slanted. The forearms are very muscular with powerful knees and hocks on short, clean cannon bones. The limbs are hardy with little feather. The gaits are ample and supple in spite of the great bulk of this horse. The Auxois has a calm and gentle temperament and is well suited to farm and heavy draught work.