Old Oldenburg Horse

Horses of the Alt- Oldenburger breed is often referred to as East Friesians. They are so similar that they are mostly thought of as one breed of horse. First and foremost, Alt-Oldenburg horses are bred as driving horses with riding qualities.

The breeding history of the old Oldenburg

Beginnings of horse breeding

Horse breeding has always been an important branch of production in East Frisian agriculture. This is not the least due to the soil and weather conditions on the German North Sea coast. Which allowed agriculture to thrive and thus enabled respectable horse breeding. It is therefore not surprising that the East Frisian horse breed came into being as early as the 18th century as a breeding code for the farmers' private breeding stallions. This made East Friesland the first German region in which stud and stallion books were opened.


The beginnings of East Frisian horse breeding were organized exclusively privately. Because no stud farms or state stallions were kept in East Friesland. Nevertheless, as early as 1715, the sovereigns issued licensing regulations for the rural stallions. This was initially only valid in the north of East Friesland. But it was extended to all of East Friesland as early as 1755.


Improvement and breeding methods from the 19th century

However, until the 19th century, one could not speak of orderly horse breeding. Stallions with a lot of Spanish or Oriental blood were crossed again and again. Only when Ostfriesland became a Hanoverian province did horse breeding become more uniform, among other things due to the state stud stallions from Celle.


To be able to export the East Frisian horses as carriage horses, they were further refined. For this purpose, English driving horse breeds such as Cleveland Bay and Yorkshire Horses were often crossed. In the late 19th century the basis of modern breeding was laid. English warmblood stallions, Anglo-Normans, and also Hanoverian half-blood stallions were imported. At the beginning of the 20th century, the East Friesian could therefore be used both as a workhorse and as a sport horse used. Between 1920 and the end of the Second World War, the Alt-Oldenburger became heavier in type again, as it had to be used as a cavalry horse and workhorse. When there was more demand for lighter sport horses, breeding was mainly refined with oriental blood.


Repression breeding in modern times

The East Frisian mares and some of the stallions (so-called "black stallions") were not registered at all for a long time. Up until the 20th century, there was a relatively large number of "wild" breeds, because the breeding of simple farm and commercial horses was deliberately not recorded in the mare's book. Only in modern times is the pedigree documented for almost all horses. Therefore, one can only speak of organized breeding with the establishment of the studbook. Since the 1960s, however, there has been no breeding code that would meet the more modern demands on a sports horse.


As a result, the demand for the heavy warm-blooded horses decreased and over time the state stud Celle merged: it was heavily crossed with Hanoverian stallions and East Frisian horse breeding was switched to the Hanoverian breeding goal. The purely East Frisian-Oldenburg bred stallions left the stud stations and were replaced by HanoveriansTrakehners, thoroughbreds, and Arabians. The well-known East Frisian breeders increasingly acquired pure-bred Hanoverian mares.


The last stallion licensing in Aurich took place in 1973 and in 1975 the East Frisian studbook was dissolved as an independent breeding association and was affiliated as a district association of East Frisia to the association of Hanoverian warmblood breeders.


Back breeding program since the 1980s

Due to the conversion to the Hanoverian breeding goal, displacement breeding almost led to the extinction of the original old Oldenburg within 20 years. In 1985 the Ostfriesian was classified as a representative of the heavy warmblood as a pet breed threatened with extinction. So that since the mid-1980s, back breeding has been practiced, with KWPN Tuigpaard stallions also being used here. As a result, the Alt-Oldenburger remains particularly interesting for driving.


Breeding goal of the old Oldenburg


The Alt-Oldenburger comes in a height between 158cm and 168cm. All four basic colors are possible: black, bay, fox, gray. A medium-heavy, sufficiently elegant, and caliber horse is desired as a type. This should have large lines, clear contours, and a clear gender expression. On the other hand, small, clumsy horses or horses of the noble type are undesirable. The head should be expressive and distinctive. With large nostrils and a pronounced cleft in the mouth. The neck should be of medium length and set high with the crest line arching upwards. Both shoulder and croup should be heavily muscled.


In addition to a good character, East Frisians and Oldenburgers want a calm temperament characterized by sociability and a high willingness to perform, as well as a high level of performance.


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