13 Cool Oldenburg Horse Facts

The Oldenburg was initially bred using Friesian mares and Neapolitan stallions. The result was a beautiful horse that has a wonderfully developed sense of humor. These horses love to play, which makes then a great family horse or the first horse for an older child. It’s willingness to work and powerful nature made them a great carriage horse in previous days. Today that makes them a fantastic sporting horse.

Here are some additional Oldenburg horse facts to consider if you’re looking to see if this breed could be right for you.

#1. The Oldenburg is named after Count Johann XVI von Oldenburg. 

He based the breed off of the imported Fresian mares, which were primarily harness horses at the time. The family would then continue to refine the breed by incorporating lighter horses into the blood line. Over time, the Oldenburg would become a German-style riding horse, standing about 16 hands high with a maximum of 18 hands, and generally weighing 1,500 pounds or less.

#2. The Oldenburg can be several different colors and still meet breed standards. 

The Oldenburg may be brown, chestnut, black, bay, or grey. It is also common for there to be white markings on the face and lower legs of the breed. The Oldenburg tends to have a head that’s larger than average, a convex nose, and a strong neck. They’re well-muscled in the shoulders, back, and hindquarters, with a high-set tail. Their legs are extremely powerful, built with bones that are sort and thick. Many Oldenburg horses also retain some of the knee action for which they were initially bred. 

#3. The Oldenburg requires plenty of exercise and attention. 

Although this breed is generally easy-going, friendly, and funny, they are also extremely energetic. Owning an Oldenburg means needing to have plenty of room for the horse to exercise on its own. These horses also love having attention on a regular basis and are very social.

#4. The Oldenburg has a high level of natural curiosity. 

This breed’s curiosity has been known to get more than one horse in trouble over the years. Because of this trait, it is imperative for owners to keep the living quarters of the horse free of anything that could cause harm from its exploration. An Oldenburg will also test the boundaries of a fence, a stable, or anything else in its surroundings with regularity.

#5. The Oldenburg has a low incidence of health problems. 

The main issue that an Oldenburg owner will face is grooming. Because of the coat on the horse, fungal and bacterial infections can become common without regular grooming. Ringworm, thrush, and rain rot are the most common health issues that must typically be addressed. Scratches are also common due to the curiosity of the horse.

#6. The Oldenburg is a fairly affordable horse. 

Most regions have at least a few Oldenburg horses available for sale at any given moment. For a sporting horse with a reputation for driving, they are also fairly affordable as well. Prices for this breed typically begin around $5,000.

#7. Indiscriminate breeding for nearly 200 years is still trying to be corrected. 

Starting in the early 17th century, the popularity of the Oldenburg grew because of the need for good harness horses. As the railroad began to expand throughout the continent, the demand for the breed went down. Both issues led to indiscriminate breeding practices with the horse, first because of value, the latter because of the need to earn a return. It wasn’t until 1861 when the first studbook was established in an effort to begin restoring the breed.

This was despite the fact that the government had made it illegal to breed Oldenburg horses unless an approved government stallion was being used. 

#8. The Oldenburg is adaptable and versatile for training in many disciplines. 

These horses love to be active, so they’ll get involved in whatever their owner’s interest happens to be. Because of their size and personality, this breed tends to be prized as more of a jumping horse or for dressage, but some have brought the Oldenburg back to its roots as a harness horse once again. Combined driving events have seen more Oldenburg registrations as of late.

#9. The breeding programs and associations for the Oldenburg are one of the smallest in the world today. 

The Oldenburg International Breeding Program and the Oldenburg Association only have 300+ studs and 8,000+ mares that are on their registry. This is about half of what most breeds typically average. Despite these low numbers, the Oldenburg does breed through an open studbook. This means that only one of the parents needs to be a purebred for the colt to potentially qualify under the breed standards. 

#10. There are specific naming rules for registered Oldenburg horses. 

The rules state that a colt’s name must always begin with the same letter as the name of its sire. The same is true for fillies – its name must start with the same letter as its mare’s name. Many of the registered horses for this breed are also given an identification of an “O” or an “S” which is branded on their left hip. This occurs before they reach the age of 2. Some owners have opted to use microchipping in lieu of the branding process for identification purposes.

#11. The Oldenburg is classified as a warm-blooded horse. 

This classification simply means the horse is not small and lightly muscled, nor tall and heavily muscled. It simply fits into the middle of those two descriptions, as do many of the more popular horse breeds in the world today. For the warm-blooded horses that originated out of Germany, the Oldenburg is considered to be the tallest of them all.

#12. Another Oldenburg line was started in the 1950s. 

A Thoroughbred named Hugh Lupus helped to create a “modern” line of Oldenburg horses that are slightly heavier than others, but equally agile, curious, and strong. This was a repeat of the breeding improvements that were established in 1897 in an attempt to improve the breed with everything from Normans to Cleveland Bay horses.

#13. All Oldenburg horses are tested before registration. 

Because it is a sport horse, the association conducts tests and inspections to qualify for a registration. The Oldenburg associations are not very restrictive with their rulings since they believe any sport horse should have the chance to be registered, but there are standards beyond looks and health that are in place.

The Oldenburg continues to be a much loved breed of horse because of its playful personality and willingness to do some hard work. From its foundations in Saxon to the modern horse of today, this breed proves that a horse can evolve to meet the changing demands of the world.