The Normandy Cob comes from the Normandy region of France, an area known for its horse breeding. The original horses in Normandy were small horses called bidets, introduced by the Celts. The Romans crossed these horses with larger mares, and beginning in the 10th century, the horses from Normandy were desired throughout Europe. During the 16th century, Norman horses were known to be heavy and strong, able to pull long distances, and used to pull artillery. Arabian blood was added during the reign of Louis XIV. The Norman Cob is descended from this Norman horse, called the Carrossier Normand. It was also influenced by crossing with other breeds including the Gelderland horse and Danish horses. By 1840, the Normandy Cob had become more refined, due to crosses with imported British Norfolk Trotters, as well as gaining better gaits, energy, elegance, and conformation.
In 1806 Napoleon founded the National Stud of Saint – Lo which became the main breeding centre for the Normandy Cob. By the beginning of the 20th century, the Normandy Cob was considered the best carriage horses available.
Today the Normandy Cob is recognised as a multipurpose breed and coming in three sizes, light weight as a riding horse, middle weight for a ride and drive and a heavy weight for work, drive and ride. As well as a ride and drive the Normandy cob can be used for farm, horticultural and forestry work.