The Freiberger, also known as Franches-Montagnes, is a horse breed from Switzerland, from the Jura region, described as either a “heavy warmblood” or a “light coldblood”. It was widely used as draft and pack horse in theSwiss army. It has a good disposition and is versatile, suitable for both driving and riding. Each year at the Marché Concours in Saignelégier in the Franches-Montagnes district of the Swiss canton of Jura, on the second weekend in August, a variety of shows and competitions are held.
Its been developed during the 19th century and was bred to be a draft and pack horse in the Swiss army. The breed is well suited in Switzerland and their climate conditions.The Freiberger horse is produced by the crossbreeding of native Bernese Jura mares with English Thoroughbred and Anglo- Norman horses, but later on bloodlines of Ardennais, Breton, Arabian and Belgian Draft were also added. The most influential stallions and foundation sires are Valliant and Urus, both bred at the Avenches stud farm. These two and all horses were and have to go through strictly regulated breeding programs.
Over the years, there were recognized two types of the breed a heavier and broader type that is more muscled, used for agriculture and pulling carts and the smaller lighter type, which is finer and bred more, due to the increasing interests for competitive and leisure riding throughout Europe. As a result of the growing mechanization, the need for the heavier type declined significantly, thus breeders concentrated on breeding of the lighter, riding type.
The Freiberger is a light to medium sized horse with an average height between 14.3-15.2 hands. Their weight ranges between 550 and 650 kg. The coat color among the breed is traditionally bay or chestnut.The head of the Freiberger is typically heavy, though small, noble and intelligent, sometimes showing Arabian character in the facial expression. They have a pronounced jaw line and a broad forehead.