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August 15, 2008 | | Comments 0

Oldenburg Horses

Oldenburg Horse

Oldenburg Horses: Regal Carriage Horses

Oldenburg horses were among the finest carriage horses in history. Although they were bred to serve the royal and the rich, they also came to serve the common man in equal measure as agricultural animals.

Oldenburg Horse History

Oldenburg horses are named after the place of their origin. Oldenburg is now a city in Lower Saxony Germany. The horse breed from Oldenburg is believed to have come from Friesian horses. They were originally bred by Count Johann XVI and Count Anton Gunther in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was during their successive periods of rule that foreign blood was introduced into Oldenburg breeding. Excellent Danish, Italian, Spanish and Turkish breeds were used. It was in the following two centuries that English Thoroughbred blood was introduced to further improve the breed’s hardiness and form.

At first, the attractive, high stepping Oldenburg horses were used as carriage horses. They were however introduced to farm work. This was mainly because Count Anton Gunther made his horses available for breeding with horses owned by local farmers and residents. For a long time, the Oldenburg breed remained a luxury horse that was not restricted by government rules for breeding. It was only in the early 1800s that there was brief government intervention in the selection of breeding stallions. By the 1890s, a studbook and societies for the Oldenburg breed were established.

Like other horse breeds, the Oldenburg breed went through a period of change. This was mainly because times had begun to change too. The demand for carriage horses had begun to decline by the 1900s simply because of the growing popularity and availability of cars. Farming also began to become more mechanized. Instead of disappearing though, the Oldenburg breed remained. Breeders recognized the need to shift their breeding goals. Instead or producing carriage and farm horses, they began to produce Oldenburg sports and riding horses. In a way, the Oldenburg breed has returned to its old status as a luxury horse.

Oldenburg Horse Traits

Oldenburg horses are warm-blooded. Unlike other warmblood or sports horses however, they are quite large. An Oldenburg horse can go a little bit over 17.2 hands. They are therefore easily recognized as one of the largest of the warmbloods. As befits their purpose, they have compact and muscular bodies. They do not however have overly long legs. These horses come in brown, chestnut, black or grey. They carry a brand that identifies them as Oldenburg horses.

Unlike other warmbloods, with elegant, long legs, this breed has powerful legs that are more in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Despite being warm-blooded horses Oldenburgs need to have a manageable temperament. Although they can be sensitive, brave and independent, they also need to be cautious and willing to be handled. These traits are ideal for Oldenburgs to succeed and excel in horse shows and competitions.

Today, Oldenburgs excel in show jumping. They may also be used to compete in dressage. This old carriage horse breed is now completely free of its harness.

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