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HorseShowCentral > Horse Breeds > Draft Horse Breeds > Norman Cob Draft Breed

Norman Cob - Breed & Info

Norman Cob Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below

The Norman Cob breed today, is bred to maintain purity and uniformity. Objectives are to keep the draft horse type skeleton and build, with the docile temperament, but also to keep the qualities of active


The Norman Cob , or the Cob Normand it is called in France, is a type of light draft horse bred in Normandy which has always been a land of horses, and where people have used them for every sort of purpose. This particular breed supported the rich agricultural area, working the land, carrying produce to market and providing a means of transport.

Royal stud farms for the Norman Cob were founded in 1665 and the first stallions installed in 1730. By 1900, breeders were making a distinction between horses suitable cavalry remounts and the heavier type that could be used in light draft. The tails of those heavier horses were docked, and soon the animals were termed cob after the English cobs they resembled. Today, many cob stallions are kept at the national studs, and there is performance testing for young stock and the breedings are documented.

The La Manche region is the cob country of Normandy, and the Norman cob is still regularly worked there. They perform various light draft jobs on the land and work in general farm transport. Over the years, the Norman Cob has become progressively heavier to meet the demands of the work it is expected to do but it has never lost its energetic paces nor its appealing character.


The Norman Cob is one of the very nice draft types bred in France. It is stockily built throughout and is obviously strong and powerful, but it is not a true heavy breed and lacks the massive frame and proportions of the heavy draft horses -- a good trade for its energetic and active ability. A crested neck and a sensible head are typical.

Just like the lighter English riding cobs, the Norman Cob is compact through the body with a short, strong back running into powerful quarters. The barrel of the horse is characteristically deep an round and the strong shoulder is nicely sloped.

The Norman Cob is bigger than its British counterpart, standing between 15,3 and 16,3 hands in height. And the modern Cob is heavier than the sort bred earlier in the breed’s history, which was closer to the riding type of horse and was bred in vast quantities for military purposes. It still retains, however, much of the activity and freedom of action, particularly at the trot, which is the working gait of the light draft horse.

The limbs of the Norman Cob are short and very muscular but they are lighter than those of the heavy breeds and do not carry the same profuse feather. Nonetheless, in the forelimbs the bone measurement is more than ample. The traditional coat colors are chestnut, bay or bay-brown. Occasionally red-roan or gray occurs but rarely any other color.

Today the Norman Cob is bred to maintain purity and uniformity. Objectives are to keep the draft horse type skeleton and build, with the docile temperament, but also to keep the qualities of active movement and qualities of fertility with the end goal of enhancing skills under saddle, use in agriculture, and also for France’s meat production.

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