The Oldenburg is a warmblood horse that comes from the north-western corner of Lower Saxony. The breed was developed on a mare base of all-purpose farm and carriage horses, which is today called the Alt-Oldenburger.
The modern Oldenburg is managed by the Association of Breeders of the Oldenburger Horse, which enacts strict selection of breeding stock to ensure that each generation is better than the last. Oldenburgers are tall sport horses with excellent gaits and jumping ability. The breeding of Oldenburg horses is characterized by very liberal pedigree requirements and the exclusive use of privately-owned stallions rather than centralization around a state-owned stud farm.
The modern Oldenburg can easily be identified by the brandings on the left hip, which are made up of an ‘O’ and a crown. Products of the "Oldenburg International" program have a similar brand, with an "S" within a crowned, incomplete "O". Underneath the Oldenburg brand are the last two numbers of the horse's life number. The official brand can only be placed on Oldenburg horses prior to 2 years of age. A digital micro-chip implanted in the crest of the neck is another identification method used.
When it comes to their appearance, Oldenburg horses vary, and it is usually easier to describe any warmblood by its actual parentage. However, Oldenburg is known for producing among the most "modern" examples of riding horses: expressive heads and long legs. Otherwise, they are selected to fit the model of a sport horse, generally built uphill with a reasonably long neck and a long, moderately-sloped pelvis. Ideally, they stand between 16.0 and 17.2hh.
When it comes to their color, the Oldenburg has, thanks to its liberality, been very forward-thinking. Most Oldenburgers are black, brown, chestnut, bay or grey, however, between the United States and Germany, no fewer than 8 tobiano pinto stallions are included in the roster.
Oldenburgers tend to have expressive and elastic gaits with a great deal of suspension. The quality of their walk, trot or canter, can vary from individual to individual, however, their gaits are selected to be suitable for sport.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons