The Oldenburg Horse also known as the Oldenburger belongs to the warmblood breeds that originated from Germany. Its place of origin is the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (in Lower Saxony). This is how the horse got its name.
Oldenburg horses are sport horses that are known for their versatility and strength. The horses are used as riding horses and also seen in horse shows and competitions. This compact horse has originated from smaller horses that were used for plowing.
This noble horse is tall and strong making it the ideal sport horse. Proper selection of breeding stock has ensured that the modern Oldenburg has turned out to be better than its ancestors.
The origin of the Oldenburg can be traced back 300 years ago. The horses in the Oldenburg region were small and strong so they could work in the fields. In the 17th century, Count Johann XVI used the local Friesian horses. He bred them along with the Fredriksborgers from Denmark, Neapolitan, Andalusian, and Turkish horses.
The breed that was developed was the first Oldenburg. Count Anton Gunther then further developed this breed. He imported the best Spanish and Neapolitan horses for his horse breeding. He gave these horses for use by top warriors.
Stallion inspections began to be held as per state regulations, which mandated inspection of the breeding program. From a farm horse, the Oldenburg had evolved into a stylish carriage horse that could also be used on the farm. There were two studbooks of Oldenburg and Ostfriessen that were merged in 1932 to form the Oldenburg Verband or the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Association.
The first foreign stallion imported in the post-war era was a black Anglo Norman named Condor. This was followed by the use of many Thoroughbred sires. The success of this measure prompted breeding societies to prefer French sires over the German sires. The concept behind breeding this horse was to create a truly German riding horse.
The German Verband is liberal and allows different colors and pedigrees to be registered. The Oldenburg registry is one of the largest in Germany. A lot of importance is given to mare lines and this is ensured through mare inspections.
All the modern Oldenburg horses are branded. They have an “O” with a crown branded on their left hip. The horses also have a microchip that has been implanted in their neck. This is done for the identification of each horse.
A unique life number is allotted to each horse by the international sport horse registry. The last two digits are branded under the crown symbol. The branding is done to horses before they reach the age of two.
Oldenburg horses are strong and need food as well as sufficient exercise to be healthy. The horses are fed both hay and grains. A minimum of ten to fifteen pounds of roughage is needed along with vitamin supplements.
Sufficient fresh drink water is required for the horse.
Breeding And Uses
The Oldenburg breeding registry accepts stallions outside the breed as long as it meets the criteria for acceptance. There is a rigorous evaluation done that takes up to three days. Once the first stage is cleared, then a detailed evaluation is done that lasts for up to 100 days.
In the final test, athletic ability is assessed through physical trials. Only the stallions clearing all three stages are approved so that Oldenburg horse breeders can use them as sires.
The Oldenburg Verband also carries out an inspection of mares. The Oldenburg mares can win the title of Champion mare. The colts are named with the first letter being the same as the sire’s name. Fillies are named after the mother.
These horses have been used as carriage horses. They are also used in showjumping and other events.
The Oldenburg is a heavy horse that weighs around 1,700 pounds on average. The height of the horse is between 16.2 to 17.2 hands, which is 163 to 178 cm or 64 to 70 inches.
What Breeds Make Up The Oldenburg Horse?
There are many breeds of horses that make up the Oldenburg horse. The local horses of the Oldenburg region, including the Friesian as used for breeding. The Frederiksborgers, Turkish horses, Andalusian horses, and Neapolitan horses were used for the initial breeding.
Anglo-Norman and Thoroughbred sires were bred with Oldenburg mares. A variety of other horses used for breeding included the Trakehner, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Selle Francaise, Dutch warmblood, and the Westphalian.
The registration of the Oldenburg horse does not have any restrictions on coat colors, unlike some other breeds. Grey, black brown, and bay are the standard colors of this horse. Some other colors that are seen include chestnut, pinto, and tobiano.
What Do They Look Like?
They are large and physically strong. They are also impressive horses that look noble and stylish. The shoulders of the horse are strong. The neck is muscular. The horse has a full mane that is thick.
The head is well set and is either straight in profile or Roman-nosed. The chest region is broad. The hind region is powerful. The pelvic region of the horse is moderately sloped and the croup is flat. The legs are thick and long. The horse has large hooves that help in carrying its weight. The horse’s tail is set high.
What Is An Oldenburg Horse Used For?
Oldenburg horses are versatile and have many uses. It is used in dressage competitions. Being athletic and skilled, it is suited for dressage events. Bonfire is one of the most successful Oldenburg dressage horses having won gold and silver medal in the Olympics, and the World Cup five times.
When it comes to show jumping, Oldenburg horses are considered one of the best. They are usually not used for eventing, since they are considered slow. If the horse has been sired by a Thoroughbred, then it may be used for eventing.
Oldenburg horses are used in endurance events. They are also used for general riding. In some places, these horses are even used for hunting.
Where Do They Live?
Oldenburg horses originated in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. The Oldenburg Verband or registry has 220 sires and 7000 mares in its approved list. For the show jumping International breeding program, the registry has 96 sires and 1300 mares.
They are found in different countries in the world. They are found in North America where the Oldenburg Registry of North America maintains horse registrations.
How Long Do They Live?
Oldenburg horses have a life span of 30 years. This is in line with horses of its type. The horses are strong and athletic and unlikely to have any major health problems. This ensures they live for up to 30 years.
While they are not likely to have any specific diseases, there are other problems that this horse can face. There are common bacterial and fungal infections that this horse can face. These include ringworm, thrush, rain rot, or scratches. These infections can be easily prevented by proper grooming.
Apart from grooming the coat, the hooves also need to be properly inspected. Doing this regularly helps to spot infections and injuries early, so treatment can be given.
A key quality of the Oldenburg horse is its curious nature. This would make it try and explore its environment. If it is not kept in a safe place, there is a risk of injury when the horse tries to examine strange objects. Sharp objects or any other such dangerous objects must be kept out of the reach of the horse.
How Fast Are They?
The Oldenburg horse is known for its athletic build and its good speed. Stallion registrations are done using agility as one of the criteria for selection.
The horse is not used for racing even though it is not built for speed. The average speed of this horse is around 25 to 30 miles per hour (40 to 48 kilometers per hour).
How Much Do They Cost?
Auctions are conducted in Vechta in Germany. The auction features young horses, elite riding horses, and broodmares. The top stallion in 2020 was sold for $382,000. The best filly was sold at $150,000. The high prices show the importance of quality as a characteristic of this horse.
The prices of the Oldenburg horse vary depending on various criteria. The age of the horse, its breeding, training the horse has undergone, and gender would decide the actual cost of the horse. It can start from $5,000 and increases depending on the specific traits of the horse.
Are Oldenburg Horses Good For Beginners?
Oldenburg horses are known for their good temperament. Large horses are generally difficult to manage. One of the exceptions is the Oldenburg horse. Initially meant to be a coach work with farm work, it is now used in dressage and other events. Used for harness work, the growth of the railways contributed to the breeding of this horse as a luxury horse.
Being a sport horse, it is strong and athletic. It is a good gait and is built for speed. It is a horse that can be easily trained. Being a smart horse, it can learn quickly making it easy to train. The Oldenburg is of even temper and a friendly horse.
All these qualities make this horse good for all types of riders. Its kind and reliable nature can help riders manage this horse well.
It must be noted that this horse is independent. Added to this quality is its curious nature. This makes the horse a bit difficult to handle for beginners. It is a strong horse that is well built. A beginner may experience problems handling this horse.
This is why it is recommended that the rider of the horse should have some experience with horses. It is preferable that the horse has experience working with large horses. This will allow the rider to handle this horse better and control it if its natural curiosity makes it go astray.
Conclusion / Summary
The Oldenburg horse is a large horse that is strong, agile and has a pleasant temperament. The horse has earned its name from the Oldenburg region from where it originated. Coach horses were crossed with other strong horses to create this bred.
The horse was initially given to warriors who excelled in battle. It was meant to be used as a coach horse that could also do farm work. The horse has continuously undergone changes with different bloodlines being added to it.
All this has resulted in a stylish and elegant horse. While it can be used for farm work, it is essentially a sport horse. The horse is good for dressage and excels in show jumping. Members of this breed have performed very well in the Olympics and many other international events.
It is an independent horse that is curious. Its kind nature that is amenable to train makes it a very good horse to own. This is the reason why this horse is in demand among people who want luxury horses. The best horses that are well-trained are sold for very high prices.
The horse is healthy and does not suffer from any major health problems. It has a lifespan of around 30 years. It is easy to maintain as long as it given good food, groomed well, and gets sufficient exercise.
A key characteristic is that there are no state-owned studs. This allows for private stallions to be owned. The breeding requirements are quite liberal and allow horses of different colors to be registered. The only key is that it should meet the stringent requirements. This is why the German Oldenburg Verband believes that quality is the only standard that matters.
Since the horse is large and curious by nature, it is best that a slightly experienced rider handles this horse. Beginners may find it a bit tough to manage this horse.