The Boulonnais, also known as the "White Marble Horse", is a French draft horse breed. It is known for its large but elegant appearance and is usually gray, although chestnut and black are also allowed by the French breed registry.
Originally there were several sub-types, but they were crossbred until only one is seen today. The breed's origin traces to the year of 57 BC during the times where the Romans brought draft horses to invade England. During the 17th century, The Spanish Barb, Arabian, and Andalusian blood were added to create the modern type.
During the early 1900s, the Boulonnais were imported in large numbers to the United States and were quite popular in France; however, the European population suffered severe decreases during 20th-century wars. The breed nearly became extinct following World War II, but rebounded in France in the 1970s as a popular breed for horse meat. Breed numbers remain low; it is estimated that fewer than 1,000 horses remain in Europe, mostly in France. A 2009 report suggested that the breed should be a priority for conservation within France. The smallest type of Boulonnais was originally used to pull carts full of fresh fish from Boulogne to Paris, while the larger varieties performed heavy draft work, both on farms and in the cities. Temperament and agility including the Grand Prix level of horsemanship are the major qualities of this breed. The Boulonnais was also crossbred to create and refine several other draft breeds.
For the first time, in 115 years, the first two Boulonnais's, a majestic 4yr old Stallion "Ben Hur De Bernaville" and a 3yr old bred mare"Caline de la Course" touched American soil on July 9th, 2015. Only 500 total left in the census of 2018 and 54 approved breeding stallions including Ben Hur. The Boulonnais deserves a second chance at survival so today Cirque Ma’Ceo puts the spotlight on this endangered breed. Since he has been in our program, "Ben" has developed the sense for Rosinback riding and is a part of our Bareback act along with special moments through the show.
The Friesian is a breed orginating in Friesland, Netherlands. Resembling a light draft horse, Friesians are graceful and nimble for thier size. During the Middle Ages, it is believed that the ancestors of Friesian horses were in great demand as war horses throughout Europe. Their size and presence enabled them to carry knights in armor on the battlefield. Cirque Ma'Ceo' s Friesian stallion, "Veleno" is an exquisite example of the modern day Friesian horse. 12 year old Veleno was born in Michigan and started his career with Olissio at the age of 2. Beginning with the fundamentals of liberty, Veleno developed a deep connection with Olissio through this dance of horse and man. High school and Classical Dressage was the next step of his career learning the top movements; Piaffe, Passage, canter pirouettes, and Spanish March. Aside from performing as one of Cirque Ma'Ceo's center peice horses, Veleno has appeared in magazines and music videos.
The Suffolk Punch is an old English draft horse breed. The breed takes the first part of its name from the county of Suffolk in East Anglia and the name "Punch" from its solid appearance and strength and always chestnut or sorrel in color. The Suffolk Punch was developed for farm work, and gained popularity in the early 20th century. However, as agriculture became increasingly merchanized, the breed fell out of favor and almost disappeared completely. Conservancy of the breed has begun increasing in numbers. Cirque Ma'Ceo is proud to promote this breed across the country with 14 year old Guido. our main star in the Bareback act. With an honest and noble personality, Guido is the main star of the Bareback act. Guido has been with Cirque Ma'Ceo for 10 years and continues to shine in every performance.