French Trotter

If you have ever been interested in the French Trotter, this is the article for you!

In today’s blog post, we are going to cover everything you need to know about this horse breed.

This will include their history, physical characteristics, and what sets them apart from other horse breeds.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

French Trotter Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the French Trotter:

Height (size) 15.1 – 17.1 hands high
Colors Black, bay, brown or chestnut, but gray is seen as well
Country of Origin France
Common Uses Harness racing, jumping, dressage, cross country, hunter trials, le trec, general riding

French Trotter Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The French Trotter originated in the 19th century in Normandy, a province in northwest France, because of the rising need for a powerful and sure-footed horse in the emerging sport of harness racing.

Many different breeds of horse were used in the breeding efforts to produce a horse of the desired conformation and performance ability.

To develop a horse with unparalleled speed, power, and stamina, breeders combined Norman stock with that of the Thoroughbred, American Standardbred, Norfolk Roadster, Hackney, and hunter types breeds.

Thoroughbreds and Norfolk Trotters were the most important horses in the early evolution of the breed, helping to shape a horse that was not only functional but also visually attractive and had a friendly disposition that made them easy to handle and train.

In the beginning, the breed was relatively similar to the Old Norman horses, but as time went on, more Thoroughbred blood was added resulting in a much more refined appearance.

Despite the influence of Standardbreds, who typically have a lateral two-beat pacing gait, French Trotters developed a diagonal two-beat trot.

While trotting, they can just about match the speed of a galloping Thoroughbred, making it one of the world’s fastest trotting breeds!

The breed was formally recognized in 1922, and in order to preserve the distinctive characteristics that made the French Trotter so popular, the studbook was closed in 1937.

Only about a third of French Trotters make it through the necessary performance tests to become racehorses.

The others are often used as trail horses, hunting horses, show jumpers, or as recreational mounts.

The breed is well-known now all over the world and is sometimes called the “Norman Trotter” after Normandy, where it originated.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names

“Norman Trotter”


Gentle disposition, friendly

Physical Characteristics

The head is big and broad with large eyes and wide nostrils.

The chest is broad and deep with a prominent breastbone.

The neck is strong and well-set.

The shoulders are sloping, and the back is strong.

The hindquarters are very powerful, and legs are well-muscled, and well conformed with hard hooves.

The stride is level, and the physique is well-balanced and suitable for harness racing and other sports.


Black, bay, brown or chestnut, but grey is seen as well

Height (size)

15.1 – 17.1 hands high






1,100 – 1,430 lbs (500 – 650 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Harness racing, jumping, dressage, cross country, hunter trials, le trec, general riding



Popular Traits

Exceptional speed and stamina



Country of Origin



Norman horse, Thoroughbred, Norfolk Roadster, Hackney, American Standardbred