The Henson appeared towards the end of the 1970s and is the fruit of some deep thinking about the practice of riding in those days. The goal was to create a breed of horse suited to outdoor riding.
As opposed to what is believed by many, the Henson is not a cross between a Fjord pony and a saddle horse, but the result of the crossing of first generation subjects among themselves. The concept of breed inevitably holds that subjects with close phenotypes are crossed, in order to have a stable and breedable genotype. As a matter of fact, the genotype and phenotype of the Fjord are very different from those of saddle horses.
At the beginning of the process, it was necessary to create a large enough “first generation” herd. This is why the promoters of this project, under the flag of the “Association des Cavaliers de la Baie de Somme” (Association of Riders of the Baie de Somme) worked to:
- Bring together the area’s Fjord crosses
- Always have their saddle horses bred to Fjord stallions
- Create a new association called “Association du Cheval Henson” (The Henson Horse Association) bringing together local breeders interested in moving in that direction.
In 1995, having deemed the head count to be sufficient for the first generation, Volume A of the stud book was closed.
From that day onward, various breeders have concentrated exclusively on producing second and further generation stock, with a constant rise in head count.
The Baie de Somme, cradle of the Henson breed, is a vast natural space of close to 70 square kilometres, fed by two rivers, the Somme in the south and the Maye in the north. Just like the sheep of Estran and Prés Salés, the Henson horses can live part of the year in the wet marshes of the bay and its environs.
The Henson horse breed was recognised in 2003.
Number of Births:
In 2018: 56 births
In 2017: 49 births
In 2016: 52 births
In 2015: 53 births
From 1.50m (14.3h) to 1.60m (15.3h)
The coat is generally dun, made up of beige hairs, more or less dark in colour, and going from black to brown.
A black line down the back is compulsory and some horses have stripes on their legs.
Abilities & Uses
The Henson is above all an equestrian tourism ride. It is a calm and confident horse but also a very hardy one.
Some people also consider it a horse for competition, and it excels in four disciplines: Horse-ball (French champion in 2002), driving (bronze medal for a 4-in-hand at a French championship), endurance (several qualifiers for national championships), and TREC (regional and national level).
Sources: IFCE, National Breed Organisation, Federation of Regional Horse Breeds
For More information about : Henson Horse
National Breed organisation:
Association du Cheval Henson
(English version available)