Ride Around the World Horse: The Oldenburg of Germany

In the spirit of this year's Ridefest theme, "Ride Around the World," we're going to explore a horse breed from across the world each week. 

The Oldenburg

Oldenburgs hail from Germany

Oldenburgs hail from Germany

Environment: Temperate, controlled
Origin: 17th century
Blood: Warm
Colors: All solid
Uses: Saddle, Harness

Equest Therapy Horse Smarty is an Oldenburg from Germany

Equest Therapy Horse Smarty is an Oldenburg from Germany

The Oldenburg was developed in the 17th century as a coach horse, able to cope with rough roadways, and capable of doing a variety of agricultural jobs. Since then the breed has been continually adapted by skillful and controlled breeding to meet changing requirements. Still the most powerfully built of the warmbloods, the Oldenburg is a competition horse, particularly for dressage and driving.

Breeding: The breed, based on Friesian stock, originated in the provinces of Oldenburg and East Friesland, now in Germany. It was developed by Count Anton Gunther von Oldenburg (1603-1667), who used Spanish and Neapolitan blood. Halfbreed English stallions were introduced at the end of the 18th century, and then Thoroughbreds and some Cleveland Bays around 1897. An important outcross was Normann 700, a Norman from Norfolk Roadster and English halfbreed lines. When emphasis shifted to the riding horse, another Norman, Condor, was used, as well as the Thoroughbred, Lupus. Recent crosses have also been Thoroughbred, with occasional recourse to the Hanoverian. 

Characteristics: The modern Oldenburg is an impressive horse, with an equable temper. It retains some knee action, but has correct, rhythmic paces. Surprisingly for such a large-framed horse, the breed matures early.

Edwards, Elwyn Hartley; Langrish, Bob (PHT). “Oldenburg.” Smithsonian Handbooks Horses, Dk Pub., pp. 134–135.

CJ Bankhead