The Carmarguais or Carmargue is an ancient breed of horse and are native to the Rhone Delta area of Southern France and have lived there for centuries, possibly thousands of years, probably sine prehistoric times as they look like horses painted in the ancient caves at Lascaux and Niaux.
There they developed the stamina, hardiness and agility for which they are known today.
These horses are amazingly hardy, having to survive in a harsh region, which is extremely hot in summer and bleak in winter.
They developed the stamina, hardiness and agility for which they are known today.
The grass is tough and the marsh water is salty.
Wild horses of the sea
The horses are also known as the “wild white horses of the sea”.
The horses roam free and can often be seen galloping through the water’s edge.
Once a year there is an annual round up for inspection where suitable riding horses are selected then broken.
Branding and selective gelding also takes place.
The breed is traditionally used by the local cowboys to round up the famous black cattle of the Rhone Delta.
The typical height is 14 – 15hh
Coat colours are always grey.
The head has many similarities to the Barb horse. It is often heavy, square and expressive, with bright, wide-set eyes, a straight profile, flat forehead and well-chiselled cheek bones.
The ears are small, short, and set well apart, with the forelock full. The breed has a neck of medium length with an abundant mane.
The chest is deep and wide, and the shoulder, usually upright is powerful and muscular. The withers must be defined but not exaggerated.
The Camargue horse has a strong medium length back, well-supported, and a slightly sloping full croup, well-muscled sloping hindquarters, and a low set, full tail.
The Camargue horse has long legs, that are well proportioned, strong and resistant, with large knees and hocks.
They are agile and sure-footed with hard and tough hooves, with soles that are large and wide. The breed rarely needs shoing.
This means that they have black skin underlying a white hair coat as adult horses.
Carmargue foals are born with a hair coat that is black or dark brown in colour, but as they mature to adulthood, their hair coat turns ever more intermingled with white hairs until it is completely white.
Their calm temperament, agility, intelligence and stamina has resulted in these horses being used for equestrian games, dressage, and long distance riding, which is growing in popularity in France.