Use and characteristics of the Wuerttemberg
The old type of Wuerttemberg averages 16.1 hands (65 inches/165 cm) high. They are predominantly bay, brown and black, with some chestnut. They represent an early form of warmblood that has since given way to more athletic types. When purchasers buy a Wuerttemberg of the old style, they are gaining one of the original warmbloods, since it could be said that experimental breeding to produce a Marbach warmblood began nearly five centuries ago. Certainly, when breeders sell a Wuerttemberg they can claim over a century of existence since the stud book was established in 1895. The original type should be an excellent, easy-going all-rounder, equally suitable for riding, carriage or farm work. They provided some of the foundation stock for the modern Baden-Wuerttemberg sports horse.
Origin and history of breeding Wuerttemberg horses
In the latter half of the fifteenth century, Duke Eberhard V (also known as “the Bearded”) established a stud where native breeds were crossed with horses of eastern origin. By 1552, this experimental stud was relocated to the main stud farm at Marbach, under the management of Christoph von Württemberg. Duke Cristoph was a talented horse breeder who selected horses of many different types from Hungary, Turkey and elsewhere for his programme. Andalusians and some of the famous Neapolitan warhorses were also brought to the stud, which was well-placed to develop a horse to suit the requirements of the time. In the late sixteenth century, these were primarily for cavalry and riding horses. As the seventeenth century progressed, the need for coach and carriage horses increased too. However, the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648) resulted in the end of the stud; breeding did not resume until the end of the seventeenth century when organised breeding following written regulations began. At this time, East Friesian, Barb and Spanish horses made an important contribution. The Napoleonic Wars also resulted in great losses to the horses of Wuerttemberg, as they did to many of the fine breeds and studs of Europe. In the late nineteenth century, Anglo-Norman, Suffolk punch and then Trakehner (known at the time as East Prussian) horses were used to create the cob-like, reliable, all-rounder. This was represented in the stud book established in 1895. The Anglo-Norman stallion Faust was seen as particularly influential at this time and it is Faust who has left a major stamp on the look of the old-style Wuerttemberg.
Wuerttemberg horses in equestrianism
The original - or old type - of Wuerttemberg, is probably best-known for its role in helping to create the modern Baden-Wuerttemberg warmblood breed, an excellent sports horse. However, some enthusiasts still appreciate the old type horse, with its suitability for carriage driving, riding and farm work. Today, horses like this are often recognised as historic breeds and can play an important and even irreplaceable part in regional heritage.