A Schleswig horse
|Distinguishing features||Compact and sturdy heavy breed. Predominantly chestnut with flaxen mane and tail.|
|Alternative names||Schleswiger, Nieder-Sachsen|
|Country of origin||Germany|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
The Schleswig horse (German: Schleswiger Kaltblut) is a breed of medium sized draught horse found primarily in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein; they are also found in smaller numbers in Lower Saxony. They are working horses, used today for agricultural work, pulling wagonettes and other recreational activities.
The Schleswig stands between 154–162 cm (15.1–16.0 hands) (61-64 in) and weighs about 800 kilograms (1,800 lb). Stallions are often taller than mares. It has a short and straight head with kind eyes and a broad forehead; short, cresty neck; powerful shoulders; a long body with good depth in the girth; powerful hindquarters; short and stocky limbs with some feather. It is predominantly chestnut in colour though occasionally bay or grey. The Schleswig is a good mover and has a placid nature. It is versatile and agile, with great endurance and very willing to learn.
The Schleswig originates from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany and strongly resembles its close relative, the Jutland horse. It was developed in the latter half of the 19th century as a medium sized draught horse when the breeders' association of Schleswig Holstein decided in 1888 to separate the breeding of warmbloods and draughts. In 1891, the Schleswiger Horse Breeders Society was founded to nurture and preserve the breed. The brand V.S.P in an oval on the right hindleg was chosen to identify registered horses and is still used today.
In the 19th century, lighter blood from the Yorkshire Coach Horse and Thoroughbred was introduced, though this did not have a lasting effect on the breed. This was then followed with the introduction of Oldenburg, Holstein and Suffolk Punch blood though these infusions also did not achieve the desired results. In 1862 Jutland stallions were imported and bred in further. The number of horses and breed quality both dropped significantly following World War I. However, Breton and Boulonnais blood was successfully added in order to increase the breed's quality. Virtually all Schleswig horses bred since 1930 trace their ancestry to a stallion named Munkedal, the son of the prolific Oppenheim LXII, who was a Suffolk Punch.
Despite an increase of numbers between the wars, reaching its peak in 1949 when there were approximately 25,000 mares and 450 registered stallions in the studbook, mechanisation led to reduced demand, and numbers again fell. In 1976 the breed numbers reached a low of 35 mares and 5 stallions, and in that year the old society was dissolved and the Stud Book Schleswig Holstein/Hamburg took over registration. The society was reformed in 1991 and now has 200 members. The numbers have also risen to 200 mares and 30 stallions. Despite the increase, it is on the list of the endangered domestic animal breeds as recorded by the Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen ("association for the conservation of old and endangered domestic animal breeds"), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, and the European Association for Animal Production (EAAP).
The Schleswig horse was bred for use as a working horse. It was used on farms and for hauling timber from forests, to pull omnibuses and brewery wagons in cities and for heavy work in the military. Today, they are still seen as working horses in the agriculture and timber industries, as well as used for various forms of recreational use, including driving and pulling wagonettes.
- Das Schleswiger Kaltblut: Rassebeschreibung. Verein Schleswiger Pferdezüchter e. V. Retrieved December 2013.
- Draper, Julia (1997). Horse Breeds of the World. London: Hermes House. p. 62. ISBN 1-84038-870-6.
- Hopf, Barbara. "Society of Schleswiger Horse Breeders". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Breed Details horse: Schleswiger Kaltblut". Federal Office for Food and Agriculture. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Schleswiger Kaltblut.|
- Society of Schleswiger Horse Breeders (English or German)
- The Stud Book Schleswig Holstein/Hamburg (German)
- The Danish Society of Horse Breeders (D.S.F) (Danish)