Schwarzwälder Füchse – Black Forest Horses
The Black Forest Horse, as it’s name suggests, originated in the Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg in south west Germany. The Black Forest Horse is also referred to as Schwarzwälder Füchs, Schwarzwälder Kaltblut, “Wälder” horse, or Saint Märgener. They are a small, hardy draft horse which is suitable for the highlands with its long winters. They were originally selected for working on farmland and in forestry regions. Today they are mainly used as coach horses and for riding. They are nimble and lively, have a gentle nature, and are very durable and strong. The Black Forest horse is known for it’s high fertility, is long-lived, and are very easy keepers. Their body color, as suggested by the name, is mostly dark chestnut (German:Kohlfuchs) with light (blonde/flaxen) mane and tail. Their coloring can vary slightly into a sorrel, however the most popular color is the dark chestnut. Black Forest Farmers refer to the Black Forest horses as the “Pearls of the Black Forest” because of their positive/easy nature, gentle disposition, and their sheer elegance and beauty.
The Black Forest breed dates as far back as 600 years. By the end of the 1800’s the first studbook was established, thereby creating state regulated breeding stock and breeding regulation/qualifications. By the 21st Century the breeding goals, diligently sought after by both breeder and the State, were accomplished. The end result being a gentled minded versatile family horse.
As civilization evolved and machinery began to overtake the use of work horses, the existence of the Black Forest breed became greatly endangered. In 1981, there were a mere 160 registered broodmares. Breeders and owners of these gentle horses began diversifying the uses of the Black Forest Horse. They handsomely pull brewery wagons, wedding carriages, and carry any size rider easily through varied terrain. Their good character and gentle disposition has earned them a well-deserved role in aiding children in therapeutic riding facilities.
Today, there are still only 46 State Approved Stallions (16 stallions standing at the State owned Stud Farm in Marbach/Baden-Wurttemberg, the others standing at private breeding facilities) and approximately 700 registered mares in Germany. These numbers continue to rise as the popularity of the breed once again reaches new heights.
|Weight||approx. 500 – 600 kg’s (1250-1400 lbs).|
|Color||Sorrel to dark chestnut with blonde/flaxen mane and tail.|
|Build||Head: elegant, defined, expressive and kind eye.
Neck: muscular, refined set.
Body: light to medium frame, strong and sloping shoulder, wide muscular hind quarters. Well muscled body, large strong joints and hardy hooves.
|Movement||Extended stride in walk and trot.|
|Versatility||Farm and Forestry, Driving and Riding for Pleasure and Show.|
|Performance test||Pulling and Driving.|
|Branding||Horses born in Baden-Württemberg will receive the "famous"
Spruce Tree brand.
Stallion prospects are selected by state selected committee when they are 3 years old. If the young stallions pass the first inspection, based on conformation, movement, and overall appearance, they have complete and pass the “Performance Test”. When the driving and pulling performance test is passed successfully they have earned the title of “State Approved Stallion”. By definition this means they are approved by the State, based on their overall appearance, conformation, and performance ability, to breed state approved and registered mares. During the years following the Stallions are observed very closely. Stallions that produce repeatedly outstanding offspring, will receive the “Premium Stallion” title and a selected few will receive the “Elite Stallion” title. This is the highest honor available to any Stallion. Stallions and Stallion prospects not approved by the State are never allowed to breed a mare. Eventually he will make a fine driving gelding.
Mares can also hold “State Premium” titles, the highest honor in the breed for a mare. This is achieved if the mare successfully passes the “Performance Test” in pulling and driving. She must also pass the conformation and overall appearance portions of the test as well as either be in foal or have a foal by foot.
Included in the judging of any performance test is the Overall Disposition (Character, temperament, willingness to perform, etc.) as well as driving ability, performance potential, pulling ability and the basic gaits (walk and trot). Within the basic gates Judges are looking for a large range of movement as well as displays of elegance and grace.
Foals (Colts) between 4 -6 month of age will be inspected and judged on conformation and overall appearance. Outstanding Foals can earn “bronze”, “silver” or “gold “medals depending on the judgment. If the foal is born in Baden-Württemberg, where the Black Forest Horse originated, they will also receive the Spruce Tree brand. This brand is like a passport of origination.
Credits Gabriele Haslinger
We hope that you enjoy your visit to our site and find it to be both entertaining and informative. We have included quality photographs of Black Forest horses so that you may become visually acquainted with the “Schwarzwälder” and it’s phenotype characteristics.