BREED PROFILE - Oldenburg
The Odlenburg breed originated in Germany during the 17th century. Count Anton Gunther, who ruled as the Count of Oldenburg from 1603 to 1667, is largely credited for the development of the breed, although the breed has changed in appearance considerably since then. He wanted to create a large, quality carriage horse which was also able to work in an agricultural capacity as well. He established a stud farm in the Geset region and also built a royal stable, as well as a riding school, at Rasete. He imported Spanish and Neopolitan horses and used them to cross with Friesians. One important stallion in the early development of the breed was the gray Kranich, who descended from good Spanish lines. The early Oldenburg would have been heavy-framed and somewhat coarse in appearance. In the late 18th century there was an effort made to improve the quality of the Oldenburg by introduction of Barb and Thoroughbred blood. During the second half of the 19th century the breed gained popularity with the military, who used them as calvary horses and also with the postal service, which used the Oldenburg for pulling the mail coaches. At this time the Oldenburg was still a middle to-heavyweight horse with draft horse characteristics. In 1897 some Thoroughbred blood was introduced, some is which is believed to be traced to the famous stallion Eclipse. This improved the Oldenburg stock and they became very useful riding horses. The infusion of Hanoverian blood also improved the Oldenburg breed. After the First World War the Oldenburg suffered great losses, even though it was used as a calvary horse. The Oldenburg went back to being used under harness for agricultural purposes until after WWII , when there was great effort to lighten and improve the breed. It fell into decline again with the advent of motor vehicles, but it was at this point the “New Oldenburg” was established to prevent the breed from disappearing. Breed enthusiasts began to focus on breeding a versatile riding horse . They infused more Thoroughbred blood to lighten the breed. In order to prevent the Thoroughbred’s excitable temperament from dominating, they continued the use of Hanoverian blood, which helped maintain the Oldenburg’s excellent nature. The Oldenburg today is a versatile, quality horse suitable for dresssage and show jumping as well being a popular competitive driving breed. They are powerfully built and still retain a fairly massive body structure. They have good heads, which occasionally exhibit a convex profile, and have large, kind eyes. The neck is of good length and muscular, and set on very powerful shoulders. They are broad and deep through the chest and are deep through the barrel, which is rounded. The back is often quite long and the quarters very muscular, with a well set tail. The have strong, solid legs with good bones and excellent hooves. They are mostly bay, brown, black or gray in color and stand between 16.2 and 17.2 hands. The breed has been imported into this country for a number of years. In 1983 The International Sporthorse Registry (ISR) - Oldenburg Registry North America was founded. Many top stallions and mares are now bred here in this country. ISR and the Oldenburg North America Registry follow the same stringent rules for approving and registering the breed as the Verband in Germany does.