The Brandenburg Horse, or Brandenburger, was founded in the Brandenburg Province of Germany. The selective breeding of the Brandenburg Horse has been recorded since the 15th century. Selective breeding for the Brandenburger continued throughout the German province without official registry or establishment for some time.
It was originally a farm horse and breeding was for that purpose only. This warm blooded work horse is thought to have originated with the crossbreeding of Oldenburg stallions with either Oriental or Thoroughbred mares. In 1866, this crossbreeding was demolished and not reestablished until the late 19th century.
In 1894, the necessity for a better work horse was evident. Blood lines from the original studs were still available so the Brandenburg was reestablished using Arab, Anglo-Arab and Thoroughbred mares. In 1896, Trakehen, Graditz, Berber-beck, Hanoverians were some of the breeds used to aid in reestablishment of the Brandenburger.
The goal in the development of the Brandenburger was primarily for utility in farming and would also thrive in the climate of Germany. In 1922, the Warmblood Breeding Society was established to help align these farming needs with proper breeding. Gradually through numerous trials of selective breeding, the goal of a strong, docile, warm-blood was achieved by crossing the Hanoverian and Prussian breeds. Thus, the original trial of the Oldenburg and Hanoverian crossbreed was phased out and has officially not been used since 1925.
After the reunification of the two Germanys, the breed continued to strengthen. An East German Stallion, Komet, had escaped enforced castration, as was the policy for unapproved stallions. Komet went on to become a great sire producing many other show jumping sires. The modern Brandenburger is a further development or crossbreeding of the existing Brandenburger stock with Trakehner, Hanoveranian and English Thoroughbred blood lines. This was primarily done to improve the Brandenburger breed’s equestrian and sport abilities.
In 1990, a new breeders’ association was founded that further encouraged the sport horse as an equestrian competitor. With the onset of a sport horse goal for the Brandenburger, there were further and varied bloodline incorporations. This primarily included he reincorporation of Oldenburg bloodlines and Holsteiners.
By 1999, this association boasted 1,927 broodmares and 76 sires. Germany has long been recognized for its warmblood horse breeding. The Brandenburg is a testament to this long tradition of valuable warmblooded German horses that are balanced and sturdy making them excellent sport and farm horses.
The Brandenburg is a strong and balanced horse. It stands around 16.1 hands high and has a larger and powerful build. The most common color for a Brandenburg is usually bay; however it has been seen in a variety of equestrian shades. The usual markings include black or dark markings on the ankles and legs with a white marking sometimes present on the forehead. The overall coat of the Brandenburg is shiny with thick skin.
The chest of the Brandenburg is full and deep with a proportionate straight and muscled back. The legs are stocky, thick and strong with a relatively long croup. The hooves are comparatively large and sturdy. The head is well-set, medium in size and proud. The neck is proportionate in length and thickness to the rest of the body.
The Brandenburger is overall a well-proportioned horse with an energetic disposition. This breed has an innate willingness to please and is amiable in character. One minor drawback to the Brandenburger is a slight propensity towards nervousness. With all of the Brandenburger qualities, however, it has evolved into not only a wonderful work horse but an excellent sport horse which excels in show, driving, pleasure riding, and jumping.
The Brandenburger breeding program remains solely undertaken in Germany and there are no known individual horses in Australia.