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Selle Français - French horses straight from the podium

Published: 2023-01-04 10:05:51 Categories: Guides Rss feed


Selle Français - a French warmblood horse. This breed successfully participates in worldwide horse jumping and cross-country competitions and places on the podium of the world breeding ranking (WBFSH) in horse jumping and eventing.

Selle Français horse – breed history

The breed was created in the south of France – mostly in Normandy. The ancestors of Selle Français were different horses cross-bred with oriental and Holsteiner stallions, and later on with trotters and Thoroughbreds. Until recently, this breed was called Anglo-Norman and represented various types of horses.

Originally, riding horses in France were bred mostly for war purposes. Over the centuries, they acquired characteristics that were important in war horses: bravery, strength, easiness to train, good temperament, and mental resilience. These characteristics still help them overcome the hardships of competition.

At the beginning of the 20th century, when the Industrial Revolution reached Europe, the role of riding horses began to change. French breeders started to focus on breeding competition horses to keep up with the rising popularity of equestrian sports. Breeders wanted to produce horses that would be perfect for recreational riding and competitions. Soon after, the studbook was created. In 1958 many regional half-blood horses gained a common name ‘Selle Français’. It was then decided that Anglo-Norman, Charolais, and Vendean half-bloods will be the main representatives of riding horses in France.


These days, thanks to breeding supported by artificial insemination, in 80% of cases Selle Français horses are bred not only in France but also in different European countries.

To refine and improve the breed, half-blood mares were covered by stallions with different genetic pools (full blood, French Trotter, Anglo-Arabian). This crossbreeding enriched the breeding of sport horses in France and created top stallions in the 50s and 60s, which offspring, these days, is at the top of the rankings in horse jumping and eventing.

Horses such as Cor de la Bryère SF (after Rantzau PS) and Furioso II SF (after Furioso PS) as well as their offspring such as Jalisco B SF or Quidam de Revel SF are considered to be the best stallions of this breed.

Selle Français - physique and characteristics

The breed is not unified in terms of size or build. Because of the diversity of origin, Selle Français horses don’t have a set breed standard. Overall, Selle Français horses can be described as strong half-blood horses with harmonious physiques. These horses are athletes that combine strength, intelligence, and fast learning abilities.

The average-sized head with either a straight or convex head profile slightly resembles the breed's ancestor – French Trotter. Other characteristics that might resemble Norman ancestors are widely set eyes and long, mobile ears. The neck is nicely muscular and connected with a just as muscular, compact, and proportionate body with prominent withers and shoulders. The legs are strong, muscular, and elongated in the upper part – the same trait found in trotters – and have strong, relatively big hooves. These French Warmbloods have a short and straight back as well as a slightly sloping croup that is nicely muscular and big, which makes these horses successful jumpers.


Height: 165-175 cm

Weight: 550-650 kg

Coat: most often chestnut and bay, less often black or grey. All uniform coats allowed.


Selle Français - the French warmblood horses – roles

The perfect breeding conditions and consistent selection allowed people to create an amazing, versatile sport horse.

Selle Français can be characterized by their energetic yet balanced movements with the big engagement of hind legs and big steps. Horses from this breed are most successful in jumping, eventing, and dressage. One can also find them in racing – although not often.

These brave, energetic horses are fast learners and eager to work with humans. Selle Français are docile, calm, patient, and loyal to their riders.

Training of French Warmbloods starts from an early age. Young horses, 2- or 3-year-olds, firstly take part in breeding competitions to gain the highest marks and participate in the finals.

Sports training of Selle Français starts at the age of 4 and continues at the age of 5 and 6 to participate in special trials, designed for young horses and customized to the horses’ age and level of training. The national finals take place in September: horse jumping in Fontainebleau, eventing in Pompadour, dressage in Saumur, and endurance in Uzès.

Selle Français: price

Selle Français horses can reach prices from 7 to 200 thousand euros. The price depends on the horse’s pedigree, age, level of training, and success in competitions.


Selle Français horses are generally regarded as one of the best breeds in the world for horse jumping and eventing. These horses also make loving companions for recreational riding. The only downside is their price, which unfortunately is quite high.