9×12 watercolor enhanced colored pencil on “satin” finish Arches paper. Original unavailable.
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The Oldenburg was first bred in Lower Saxony, Germany. The foundations were first laid by Count Johan von Oldenburg in the late 16th century. He bred Friesian mares with Danish, Turkish, Neopolitan, and Andalusian stallions to produce large war horses. His son, Count Anton, travelled Europe and brought home the finest Spanish and Italian stallions, to add speed and strength. His tenant farmers were also allowed to breed from his stallions, establishing the tradition of small, private studs that is still common with the breeders in that region today.
In the 17th century, the Oldenburg became a well-known coach horse, admired for its height, power, and elegance. It was also used as a riding horse. In the 18th century, Thoroughbred blood was added to refine the breed. In 1820, it became illegal to use any but a government-approved stallion for breeding, but it wasn’t until1861, that the Oldenburg stud book was established. In 1897, Oldenburg breeders brought Thoroughbreds, Cleveland Bays, Yorkshire Coach Horses, Normans, and some Hanoverians to further improve the breed.
In the earlier part of the 20th century, the Oldenburg was still being used as a high-stepping coach horse, as well as on farms. But as machinery replaced horse power, the stud owners decided to breed for an all-around riding horse. In the 1950s, the Thoroughbred Lupus and the Anglo-Norman Condor founded a new Oldenburg stallion line, which produced heavy but elegant mares. From that point, only the finest of European livestock have contributed to the breed. Thoroughbreds were used first to refine the Oldenburg, then Trakehners, Anglo-Normans, Anglo-Arabians, Selle Francais, Hanoverians, and Westphalians. The resulting horse is an excellent sport horse that is more refined than its predecessors. (info from Wikipedia)