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The people of Grantville have been plunged into a world where horsepower literally means horse power.
In the 17th century muscle, water, and air provided power. Water wheels provide power for mills but their use is limited by location. Water is also subject to seasonal variations. Air-driven power always comes to mind with the Dutch windmills; but, again, air-powered windmills are limited by location and subject to variations. The ability of boats to move down rivers with the currents and back upstream with wind power again depends upon variations in the water and wind.
For dependable and portable power, that leaves muscles. The muscles involved might be human, canine, bovine, or equine. Horses, mules, and oxen provided the heavy muscle power.
The major categories that horses are used for are:
• Draftpulling carts, wagons, plows, harrows, canal barges, and such;
• Warcavalry, officers' mounts, pulling artillery;
• Powerhitched to sweeps to provide rotary power for machinery;
• Fooddo I have to explain this one?
Each category has different physical and mental requirements. A horse that is well suited to be a cavalry mount would not be suited to pull a wagon or plow. Each job requires a different combination of body type and personality. Also, each of these broad categories can be broken down into more specific uses, all with their own body type requirements. Within each category there will be a wide range of horses from the few, very good, very expensive, to the many solid, medium priced, to the poor quality, very cheap.
Draft horses may be light, medium, or heavy. Light draft would be pulling two wheeled carts to haul produce or people from the farm or around the city. Small placid horses and ponies are suited to these jobs. A new wrinkle, starting in the 16th century and continuing in our timeline (OTL) until well into the 20th, is the development of fancy carriage horses. These fancy carriage horses fall between the light and medium draft categories. Medium draft horses would be used in teams of two to eight to pull plows, harrows, and wagons on the farms. Heavy draft horses, also used in teams, are needed to pull the mechanized farm equipment Grantville will be building.
Light and medium draft horses abound; heavy draft horses do not. A major change, one that is just starting in the 17th century, is the development of the heavy draft horse. As road systems get better between towns the larger draft breeds also begin to show up. They are the heavy trucks of the day. Oxen are still the animals of choice for plowing because the plows are so big, heavy, and awkward and horses are expensive. Slowly, in OTL, several heavy horse breeds developed and others were remodeled from medium to heavy draft. The early introduction of mechanized farm equipment will speed the demand for these heavy horses and in this area, the Grantviller with the Belgians may have something to offer his down-time farmer friends.
Horses used for transportation can be generally assigned to two categoriesspeed and comfort. The speedsters are bred for just that. They are used to speed mail and messages and for the man in a hurry. The comfort horses are the amblers. Another major change that occurs in OTL is the almost complete disappearance of amblers or gaited horses from Europe. The ambler has a soft, easy to ride gait much appreciated by those who ride long distances. Modern examples of amblers would be such as the Peruvian Paso, Paso Fino, Icelandic, and Missouri Foxtrotters. The ambling gait is a natural gait and is known today by a number of names such as singlefoot, shuffle, amble, Paso Llano, Paso Fino, or Tolt.
Warhorses also come in several types. There is the heavy cavalry horse, the light cavalry horse, the officer's horse, and the artillery horse. Again, those horses best suited to each category differ in body type and personality. All warhorses, regardless of use, must be able to learn to tolerate the battlefield or they have a very short career.
The medieval knight's destrier or Great Horse has disappeared from the battlefield along with the full suits of armor, victims of changes in warfare. The destrier type still hangs on, but is now seen mostly in the grand equestrian schools such as the Spanish Riding School. Some officers, to prove they are true gentlemen, will use the 17th-century version of the destrier as their mount. The various movements, such as the Airs Above the Ground, once used in battle, now are reduced to equestrian exercises.
The heavy cavalry horse is a sturdy animal, similar to today's Irish Draft horse. This troop horse can carry the heavier armored soldier in grand charges against the enemy line invoking terror in those facing his charge. This is the horse of close order formations and close quarter engagements. He has to be strong enough to cart his soldier to and from battle as well.
The light cavalry horse is more of a speedster; his soldier has less armor, and the tactics used are more hit and run or pursuit of broken (routed) troops. In Poland, they have been breeding Arabians since the 12th century and intermixing them with native light horses to produce the ideal light cavalry horse. All across Europe horse breeders are mixing various types in efforts to attain these ideal cavalry horses. In OTL, one result of this will be the English Thoroughbred.
Artillery horses are somewhere between the heavy cavalry and medium draft horses, or will be with Grantville's improvements to the Swedish artillery. Artillery in the 17th century was heavy and it moved slowly. Oxen were preferred for artillery draft animals. This will change and a medium-sized, strong, and quick artillery horse will be in demand.
All types of horses can provide power and food and often the sweeps were the last stop before the larder for aged and broken-down horses.
Grantville's impact on the horse population will come mainly in the demand for new types of horses. In leapfrogging three hundred years of gradual improvements to farm machinery they will quickly create demand for the heavy draft horses.
Changing horse types takes time. Gestation in horses takes eleven months. The foal is dependent on its dam for roughly six to seven months. At two years the horse may be developed enough to start training but two is when they lose their baby teeth. A sore mouth is not a good place for a bit. By the time they are four the growth plates in the knees are mature and the legs can withstand heavy work. Some breeds are not considered fully mature until six or even later. Starting a horse working too early can lead to physical problems. Training can add anywhere from six weeks to six or more years, depending on what the horse is being trained for. Adding it up, from breeding to useful animal is five years at a minimum (for those needing only the most basic training) to ten years or more for the highly trained.
One example of new horse types being developed is the Oldenburg. Bred in Lower Saxony, near the city of Oldenburg, they were based on the Friesians with a mix of Spanish, Neapolitan, and Barb blood. Early on they were known for consistency of type (conformation) and for being powerful animals with a kind character and a willingness to work under saddle, pulling a carriage, or in the fields. The Oldenburgs were started as a breed by Graf Johann XVI von Oldenburg (1573–1603) who set up breeding farms to produce warhorses. His son, Count Anton Günther von Oldenburg (1603–1667), also a renowned horseman, continued to breed these animals for riding and carriage pulling, warhorses being no longer at a premium.
Of the medium-sized draft breeds existing in the 17th century, one is the Percheron. They developed in the province of Le Perche in France. This breed's history is not well documented. What is known is that the breed began as a warhorse. Their size, 15 to 16 hands high, is documented from the 1600s although at that time they were still mixed useriding and carriageanimals. While substantial, they were not as heavy as today. As with all European warhorses, they probably have some Spanish and possibly some Arabian blood. In the 17th century the breed began to be used as a carriage horse. Once relegated to draft roles, the breed changed conformation and size to suit its new role.
In the 17th century the term "breed" did not mean what it does today. What they called breeds were really types. As an example, a "Flemish" horse normally meant that it came from Flanders, not that it was a particular breed. On the other hand, if a horse was called "Spanish" or "Friesian" certain body and temperament characteristics were expected regardless of where the horse was actually bred. These body characteristics are what horse folks call "conformation."
Most 17th century breeders carefully selected both sire and dam and kept records as to the animals used. The breeders had a specific conformation and temperament in mind as they selected and bred. They did not place as great an importance on the origins of a horse as they did on its physical and mental suitability. If the object was to breed large draft horses with feathers then they selected the largest horses with draft type builds and feathers and bred them together until they achieved a strain that bred true.
An Oldenburg horse was a horse bred by Graf Johann XVI von Oldenburg or his son, Graf Anton Günther von Oldenburg. Graf Johann and Graf Anton Günther were breeding fancy carriage horses that could also be ridden. They selected those horses that most closely matched what they intended the end product to be and bred them together. These horses were known as "Oldenburgs." However, as Graf Anton Günther allowed tenants and others to breed their mares to his stallions, the term "Oldenburg" might also apply to animals that did not come from the Graf's breeding program. The upshot was if the horse met the criteria of an Oldenburg, it was acceptable to almost everyone as an Oldenburg. Naturally those horses sold from the Graf's stables commanded the higher price and some people undoubtedly got taken by smooth talking horse traders into thinking that the Oldenburg they purchase had come directly out of Graf Anton Günther's stables instead of Bauer Schmidt's pasture.
Today, what we know as breeds have studbooks and registries to control which animals can be called by the breed name. A studbook is a list of horses meeting the standards of the breed and being registered as that breed. Some breeds have closed studbooks; others run open studbooks.
The Thoroughbred is an example of a closed studbook. No Thoroughbred can be registered unless both of its parents are also registered Thoroughbreds. A Thoroughbred must be able to trace its ancestry back to the horses found in the General Stud Book (GSB). The GSB was established and first printed in 1808. The GSB used private records to attempt to detail all the horses that deserved the name Thoroughbred. At the beginning, in the late 17th century and early 18th century, there was no such thing as a Thoroughbred and those developing the breed had no controls on what animals could be bred. The Thoroughbred was developed in England as a light cavalry and racehorse. Reading the GSB you find horses listed as Turks, Barbs, Arabians, Royal mares (no breed specified) and others with only a descriptive name such as Old Bald Peg. At its beginnings, the Thoroughbred was a type. When that type had reached a point where it was breeding true the studbook was established and closed.
With a closed studbook the horse still has to meet the breed standards to be accepted and registered. Many closed breed books only allow certain coat colors. With Andalusians, only Gray (which ages to white), Black, and Bay are allowable colors. Closed books usually require an examination by a breed judge before the horse can be registered.
The other option is an open studbook. In most breeds today with an open studbook the term "open" is a bit of a misnomer as the registry only allows breeding to certain other registered breeds. Taking the Quarterhorse Stud Book as an example, to register a horse as a Quarterhorse both of its parents must be registered Quarterhorses or one parent must be a registered Quarterhorse and the other must be registered as one of the other acceptable breeds, such as Thoroughbred. A racing Quarterhorse may actually be 7/8ths Thoroughbred. One result of this style of open studbook that Quarterhorse confirmation has divided into racing, ranch, and show types. There is an ongoing debate among QH breeders as to the physical standards of the breed.
Perhaps a better example of an open studbook can be found today in the various Warmblood registries. In most, one parent must be registered as a Warmblood, the other should preferably be from a recognized breed, but if the horse meets the confirmation and performance standards it can be registered.
Some of the color breeds, such as Paint Horse, allow almost any animal displaying the appropriate color to be registered. It is preferred that an animal have parents registered in one of the recognized breeds. With the concentration being on color one finds a wide range of conformation in these breeds.
Open or Closed Studbooks do have breed standards. Even when both the parents were registered members of the breed, if the offspring does not exhibit the desired traits it can not be registered. I offer an example of one such here: A very well known and respected Arabian breeder had set up a mating that should have resulted in a dream horse. The foal was a nightmare. While not deformed, it certainly did not meet the breed standards and was an embarrassment to the breeder. Some foals do grow out of their problems, so the breeder stuck this one in a far pasture and let him mature. At two years of age, the colt looked no better. The breeder called his vet and told him to destroy the colt. Instead the vet convinced the breeder to give him the colt and he would find it a home where no one would know his bloodlines. Many people learned to ride on the back of this gelding, little guessing what Arabian blue blood ran in its ugly body. He was never registered and the record for his dam the year of his birth lists "foal died."
Except for a couple of breeds there were no studbooks prior to the 1800s. The idea of studbooks seems to have developed late and it is only in the latter part of the 19th century that the idea of closed studbooks appear. This does not mean there were no records, only that what records existed were kept by the individual breeders. The early studbooks consisted of careful notes by the breeders of matings and the results. There was no central registry, no control over what could or could not be called by a breed name. Even these early versions of studbooks were striving to breed a type of horse.
There is a specific meaning for the term "type." A type is a collection of desired traits including conformation, abilities, coloration, personality, and such that are determined by the breeder or breeders to be what they want in their animals. There is no dependence on the sire or dam being listed in a studbook, only on what the actual animal is like. Today there are many grade horses (unregistered) that meet the physical standards for various breeds. Because one or both of their parents were not registered they cannot be registered and none of their offspring can be registered. In the past this would not have mattered in considering them for breeding.
What does the above have to do with Grantville? After all, by the 17th-century, horse breeders in Europe have been breeding types of horses literally for millennia. In breeding, the guideline has always been: "Breed the best to the best hope for the best and cull the rest." This was well understood by the horse breeders of the time.
I've consulted with Cheryl Daetwyler, who lives in and is familiar with the area upon which Grantville was modeled (the real town of Mannington and its immediate surroundings), and we've come to the conclusion that a lot of up-time horses came through the RoF. While we do not have an actual nose count, of course, it should be at least 1,000 and perhaps as many as 1,700. Many people have a horse or three tucked away on the odd acre of grass. The heaviest breed concentrations seem to be Quarterhorse and Appaloosa with smatterings of every other breed found in the U.S.
If we start with the low end of the number of horses in the RoF, we have a thousand horses. How does this break down into mares, geldings, and stallions? With all these horses, I could identify only three stallions within the RoF area, one Quarterhorse, one Appaloosa, and one Belgian. That leaves us with 997 horses to account for. At a guess based on my horse experiences, the majority are geldings. Geldings are the most popular for just plain general riding. Assuming that 600 of the remaining horses are geldings, that leaves us with 367 mares and foals. There are people in the Mannington area breeding horses, so we have to assume a percentage of the remaining horses are foals. Arbitrarily, let's say that 67 of the 367 are foals between newborn and two years old. This leaves us with 300 mares.
Now the question becomes: how many of the mares are of A) breeding quality; and B) breeding age?
At a guesstimate again based on experience, we have around 1/3 or 100 mares that are too old for breeding. Some mares are successfully bred into their twenties but as the years pile on the chances of a successful breeding starts going down. If a mare has never been bred, something common with riding stock, the chances of successfully breeding her over the age of 17–18 approaches zero. Note, this comment is for mares that have never been bred only. While successful breeding difficulties do increase with the mare's age they do not rule out breeding entirely. Secretariat's dam was 18 when she dropped him and I don't know anyone who will argue about his quality. Mind, breeding older never-before-bred mares has been done, and it can be done, but the risk of losing both mare and foal are very high even when you can get the mare bred in the first place.
This leaves us with 200 mares, a goodly number, but . . .
Another guesstimate gives us 50 of these remaining mares as being under four years old. They can be bred, but as with the older mares, this is risky. Better let them grow up a bit.
Now we've got 150 mares to breed. How many are worth breeding? Some have conformation faults so great that no breeder seeking usable horses would think of breeding them. Some have temperament problems and should not be bred. The general rate of successful breedingi.e., the mare is bred, carries, and delivers a live foalruns around 75%. (I'm being generous herethe more normal rate for estimating is 60%). If we breed all 150 despite confirmation questions, we could expect 112 live births. By the time they are one year old, this number will be reduced to 100 or less due to birth defects, accidents, infections, and injuries Grantville's vets can no longer control. Remember also, these mares are of many different breeds and the immediately available up-time stallions are of just three breeds. This is not a good case for most of these mares breeding true to their own type. The reestablishment of any up-time breed is therefore chancy due to the lack of numbers.
Another wet blanket is the problem of several of the up-time breeds having multiple, distinct body types. As mentioned above, the Quarterhorse has divided into three body types. I've heard endless lectures from a friend on "old-type" vs. "new type" Morgans and even I can see the differences. One would think that Thoroughbreds would not change body type much, as they have continued to be used for racing. Not so. On a long, warm afternoon several years ago I had the privilege to be seated amongst a group of elderly Thoroughbred breeders while watching Grand Prix Jumping. What interested me was their agreementand agreement among two or more breeders on anything is rarethat today's Thoroughbreds do not resemble those of forty or more years ago. This sent me off to look up some old pictures. The Thoroughbreds that most closely resembled the old horses were those bred for jumping and dressage, not for racing.
We also have to take a very long and hard look at what our up-time horses have to offer in improvements over the existing European stock. Unfortunately the answer to that is "Not much." Europe at this time is full of horses well suited to their uses.
Please remember: in the 17th century horses were not a hobby. Life and death could and did ride on their backs. A moderate quality riding horse would be expected to do forty miles a day for several days. Many of today's horses are physically unable to cover twenty miles a day without a day or so of rest. And before I have all the horse folks on my neck, yes, it can be strictly a matter of conditioning. Unfortunately I've seen and dealt with a lot of stock that physically could not be conditioned to even that level. Go out and look at your horses and try to see them through the eyes of a 17th-century horseman. What does your horse offer that he cannot find among his own down-time horses?
The answer to our question comes down to: What impact will these foals have on the horses of the 17th century? Except in the case of HyPP in descendants of Impressive and the possibility of there being an X-Factor Thoroughbred mare in Grantville, the answer sadly has to be: little or none.
If any of the breeding stock is carrying the HyPP gene (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis), using them for breeding would be stupid and in the long term, dangerous. HyPP makes itself known by shaking, trembling, weakness (especially in the hind end), unexplained lameness and collapse. Horses with the gene may die suddenly at any age, apparently from heart failure or respiratory paralysis. HyPP has been called the equine AIDS. This is not something you want in horses that are necessary for transportation, farming, or cavalry. Today it can be tested for and, to some extent, managed. Unfortunately vets send their specimens out to specialized labs for testing. Grantville does not have such a lab and so the ability to test is lost.
Even if there is a Thoroughbred mare carrying the X-Factor gene, the beneficial results (a greatly improved cardiovascular system through a larger heart) will take a very long time to show up. Also, unless she is a double X mare, we would again be reduced to waiting until her offspring are dead to determine which of them inherited the gene. A better gift than HyPP, but one that will not make its impact for generations.
Fear not, there is one area where Grantville has a head start. We've identified a small farm breeding Belgians (heavy draft horses) within the RoF. As best I can determine the OTL family that owns them breeds for show and sale. It appears that they have one stallion and about eight to ten mares. They also seem to have frozen semen from at least one other Belgian stallion on hand. As discussed elsewhere, the true heavy draft horses came into being in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Down-time breeders, once they understand the new demand for heavy draft horses, will begin to develop and remold their medium draft breeds but the process can take from thirty to one hundred years before the down-timers will have true breeding heavy draft horses.
What Grantville can offer is mostly an understanding of basic genetics, veterinary help, better parasite control, small improvements to draft harnesses, major improvements to saddle building, and four hundred additional years of general horse knowledge. Whether or not the horse breeders of the 17th century embrace these gifts is a different question.
So, what horses are available to Grantville and the surrounding area?
Grantville found itself in the middle of both the Thirty Years War and a devastated area, repeatedly fought and picked over. Within this area the immediately available equine resources were primarily limited to those brought along by the Ring of Fire (RoF). There were very few useful down-time horses, mules, or oxen available locally. Within the RoF there are lots of riding horses but few suited to draft purposes. To insure survival, Grantville and the local down-time farmers need to find suitable draft animals.
Horses are available elsewhere in Europe. The prices have gone up, especially close to the devastated area. Horse dealers have to travel further to buy stock. They have to move their stock safely past armies that are always in need of fresh animals. This costs money in the form of additional guards and/or bribes. The added costs go into the end price of the horses. On the other hand, from the horse traders' point of view, it is definitely a seller's market. Horses are so desperately needed that animals rejected elsewhere command premium prices within the devastated area. In the end, the horses and mules are out there, but they cost more and your choices are not all first quality animals.
What follows below is a survey of draft horse breeds of Europe. Included are some modern breeds as well as those that existed in the 17th century. A few breeds for which there is very little information are excluded. These breeds may be extinct or the name has changed. Breed names do change and one breed may be known under several names or by different names at different times or in different places.
Breeds change more than their names. They change in size, type, natural gaits, and usage, also. Present day examples of any horse breed may have little resemblance to their ancestors. Horses have been molded to fit the requirements and fashions of every age. Few pictures exist that identify breeds so we cannot say with any certainty what most breeds looked like in the 17th century.
Many European breeds saw the introduction of Arabian, Turkish, and Barb blood when the Crusaders returned with their equine prizes. Poland became a major breeding area of Arabians but the fashion for mixing Oriental horses with native stock began as early as the 1300s and continues through today.
Where possible, the century of development is given; otherwise the terms Modern, Ancient, and Old are used to indicate the relative development period. Some breeds have gone through various periods of development.
"Modern" indicates the breed was developed in the 18th, 19th, or 20th century.
"Ancient" is used for breeds whose development can be traced to before the Middle Ages (12th century or earlier).
"Old" is used for breeds that can be shown to have existed prior to the 17th century, but not as far back as "Ancient."
"Draft" indicates use for pulling wagons, carriages, plows, canal barges, etc.
"Saddle" indicates use for riding.
"Warhorse" indicates a horse used for war. This might be an armsman's horse or a destrier (knight's horse).
"Pack" indicates use as a pack animal, which was quite common in areas with bad roads.
Avelignese. Italian Alps region. Small saddle, pack, & light draft horse. Old breed.
Lipizzan. Vienna. Warhorse, saddle horse. 16th century, established in 1580 by Archduke Charles II.
Noric. Also known as Noriker or Norisches Kaltbult (German), Pinzgauersee below.
Noriker. Four main bloodlines: South German Coldblood (also called the Bavarian), the Steier, the Tiroler and the Karntner. Draft horse. Ancient breed.
Albanian Mountain. Small saddle horse, warhorse & pack horse. Ancient breed with a 14th-century infusion of Arab blood.
Albanian Myzeqea. Pony sized saddle & pack horse. Ancient breed with a 14th century infusion of Arab blood.
Danube. Light saddle and draft horse from Bulgaria. Modern (19th century).
Ardennais, aka Cheval de Trait Ardennais or Ardennais (French), Belgian Ardennes. Heavy draft horse. Ancient breed, much altered in the early 19th century and again in the early to mid 20th century.
Belgian Draft Horse, aka Brabant. Draft horse. Ancient breed that may have been used as a warhorse by the Romans before being bred up in size for draft.
Flemish. Draft horse and possibly warhorse, considered the rootstock for the Belgians. Ancient breed, much altered in the early 19th century and again in the early to mid 20th century. It is rare today.
Danube, aka Dunavska, Danubian, Dunav. Saddle & light draft. Modern (20th century).
Kladruber, aka Kladruby. Carriage horse, possibly a warhorse. 15th- & 16th-century roots with Spanish and Italian ancestors, especially the Alpine western horse. Rudolf II, the son of Maximilian II, established the Bohemian court stud farm in the year 1579 at Kladruby by the river Elbe.
Frederiksborg. Saddle, carriage, and cavalry horse. Stud farm founded in 1560s by King Frederick II with Spanish and Neapolitan stock with large infusions of Thoroughbreds in the 19th century.
Jutland. Draft horse, possibly a warhorse. Old breed, updated in the 19th & 20th centuries.
Knabstrup. Saddle and carriage horse. Old breed.
Toric, aka Tori. Light draft, saddle, carriage horse. Modern (19th century).
Estonian Native, aka Mestnaya estonskaya, Estonskaya loshad, Estonian Klepper, Estonian Pony. Saddle & light draft horse. Ancient breed.
Finnish Horse. Saddle horse. Modern (19th century?).
Finnish Draft. Draft horse. Modern (19th & 20th centuries).
Ardennes, aka Cheval de Trait Ardennais or Ardennais (French), Belgian Ardennes. Draft horse. Ancient breed.
Auxois. Draft horse. Old breed updated in the 19th century.
Breton. Draft horse. Ancient breed with three distinct branchesHeavy Draft Breton, the Postier Breton and the Corlay or Central Mountain Breton.
Corlay or Central Mountain Breton. Draft horse, crossed heavily with Arab and Thoroughbred in the 18th, 19th & 20th centuries.
Postier Breton. Coach horse crossed with English Norfolk Trotter and Hackney in the 19th century.
Heavy Draft Breton. Draft horse crossed with Ardennes and Percheron stock in the 19th & 20th centuries.
Boulonnais. Draft horse. An ancient breed (1st–2nd century a.d.) which may have been lightened up for use as a jousting horse. There are two distinct branches. The "fish cart" Boulonnais was a light draft horse with good endurance developed in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Large Boulonnais or Maree was a heavy draft horsea true "heavy" developed in the 19th century. This version is very rare today.
Camarque. Saddle horse. Old breed.
Comtois. Draft horse; may have seen use as a heavy warhorse. Old breed.
Mulassier. Draft breed, now very rare. Horse half of the Poitou Mule. Old breed, possibly ancient breed. Mulassier means "mule breeder."
Percheron. Draft horse, may have been used as a heavy warhorse. Old breed, reputed to be crossed with Arabians in the 14th–15th centuries.
Poitevin. Draft horsesee Mulassier.
Selle Francais. Saddle horse. Modern (19th & 20th centuries).
Poitou donkey. Donkey half of Poitou Mule. Ancient breedlarge, hairy, and very rare. Breed has remained pure (no outcrossings to other types of donkeys) because it breeds such good mules.
Hanoverian. Saddle horse. Origins may be 17th century; 20th century infusion of Thoroughbred.
Holsteiner, aka Schleswig-Holstein. Saddle, draft, carriage, cavalry horse. Old breed (12th–13th centuries) with much use of Spanish, Neapolitan, and Oriental stock. Much updated with other breeds in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Oldenburg. Saddle horse. 16th-century breed,
Trakehner. Saddle horse, cavalry horse. 18th-century breed; 19th- & 20th-century infusions of Thoroughbred.
Rhenish German Coldblood. Draft horse. 20th-century breed, rare today.
Schleswiger Heavy Draft. Heavy draft version of Schleswig-Holstein draft horse. 19th-century breed.
Schleswig-Holstein. Draft horse, carriage horse. 19th-century breed.
South German Horse. Heavy draft horse. 19th-century breed.
Britain, Scotland & Ireland:
Cleveland Bay. Saddle, pack, draft, carriage horse. 17th-century breed.
Clydesdale. Heavy draft horse. Breed's beginnings trace to late 16th century.
Hackney horse. Saddle & carriage horse. 18th-century breed.
Irish Draught. Saddle & light draft. 19th-century breed.
Shire. Heavy draft, possibly a warhorse. Old breed (pre-15th century) whose size may have increased in the 18th century.
Suffolk Punch. Heavy draft. Old breed (13th century).
Gidran. Saddle horse. 19th-century breed.
Nonius. Draft, carriage, & saddle horse. 9th century, originally a draft horse, lightened for riding in the 19th century.
Kisber Felver. Saddle horse. 19th-century breed.
Shagya. Saddle horse. 18th- & 19th-century breed.
Icelandic, aka Islenzki hesturinn, Icelandic toelter horse, Iceland Tolter. Saddle & light draft. Very ancient breed. Closely related to the Norwegian Fjord horse.
Haflinger. Saddle & light work horse. Old breed.
Italian Heavy Draft. Draft horse. Late 19th-century breed.
Murgese. Light draft & saddle horse. The breed origins are unclear.
Lithuanian Heavy Draft. Draft horse. Breed origins are unclear.
Zhemaichu, aka Zhmudka. Saddle, pack, & draft horse. There are 16th-century references to the breed.
Dutch Draft Horse. Draft horse. Modern breed (20th century).
Dutch Warmblood. Sport horse, saddle horse. Modern breed (20th century).
Friesian. Saddle & carriage horse. Ancient breed, stud farms date back to 12th century.
Gelderland. Saddle & carriage horse. 17th-century breed.
Groningen. Draft & carriage horse. Old breed? Origins are unclear.
The Dole Gudbrandsday, aka Dolehest, Gudbrandsdahl. Small draft horse, saddle horse. Old breed.
Norwegian Fjord Horse. Small saddle & light draft horse, Viking warhorse. Ancient, bred in Norway for 2,000 years.
Nordland. Pony, light draft, saddle. Origins unclear, probably ancient.
Hucul, aka Carpathian pony. Saddle & light draft. Old to ancient breed with the earliest written records from 1606.
Konik. Small saddle, pack, and light draft horse. Ancient breed later updated with Arabian blood.
Polish Draft. There are five different types of draft horses, all called Polish Draft, bred in different regions for different purposes. The five main types are the Lowicz, the Sztum, the Sololka, the Gravolin and the Lidzbark. The origins are unclear.
Malopolski. Light saddle and draft horse. Modern (20th century).
Arabian. Saddle horse. Ancient breed, brought to Poland throughout the Middle Ages.
Lusitano (see Andalusian). Warhorse. Very ancient breed, mentioned by the Romans.
Alti. Saddle horse. Ancient mountain horse breed.
Bashkir. Light draft and utility horse. Origins unclear but definitely old.
Byelorussian Harness. Draft & harness. Origin not clear, apparently modern (19th century).
Budenny, aka Budyonny, Budonny or Budennovsky. Saddle horse. Modern (20th century).
Don Horse. Saddle horse & cavalry horse. Developed by the Cossacks in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Kabarda. Saddle horse. Origins unclear.
Karabair. Saddle horse from the steppes. Date of origin unclear. Probably very old.
Karabakh. Saddle horse from Azerbaijan. Ancient mountain horse.
Kazakh. Saddle horses from the steppes. Ancient breed (5th century b.c.).
Kustanai, aka Kustanaiskaya. Saddle horse from Kazakhstan. Modern (19th century).
Orlov Trotter. Light harness horse with great endurance. Modern (18th century).
Russian Heavy Draft. Heavy draft horse. Modern (19th century).
Russian Saddle Horse, aka Orlov-Rostopchin Horse. Saddle horse. Modern (19th & 20th centuries) descendant of the Orlov saddle horse.
Russian Trakehner. Saddle horse. Stud farms established in the 13th century by the Order of Teutonic Knights. From 18th century on Arabian and English Thoroughbred blood was added.
Russian Trotter. Trotting horse. Modern (19th century).
Tersky & Strelesky. Light cavalry horse. Modern (19th century).
Vladimir. Heavy draft horse. Modern (19th century).
Vyatka, aka Vyatskata. Saddle, pack, light draft horse. Old (14th century).
Andalusian, aka "Spanish Horse," in Portugal known as Lusitano. Saddle & warhorse. Very ancient breed known to the Romans. The Carthusian (aka Carthusian-Andalusian) is a side branch of the Andalusian.
Astrurian, aka Asturcon. Small saddle horse, pacers or amblers. Ancient breedPliny mentions them.
Galiceño. Small saddle & harness horse. Ancient breed.
Losino. Small saddle & harness horse. Ancient breed.
Pottok, aka Basque, Vasca (Spanish). Small saddle, pack, & light draft horse. Origins unclear, may be ancient.
Sorraia, aka Marismeño. Prehistoric breed, wild horse in Spain, foundation stock for many European saddle breeds.
Spanish Barb. Saddle horse, warhorse. Ancient breed.
Tiger, aka Spanish Jennet, Caballo Tigre. Saddle horse. Ancient breed, very popular in Europe from 15th through the 18th centuries, an ambler.
Gotland, aka Skogsruss, Russ, Gotlandsruss, Skogsbaggar, Skogshäst. Small saddle, light draft horse/pony. Records exist from the 13th century.
North Swedish horse. Draft horse, carriage horse, cavalry horse. Old breed.
Swedish Warmblood. Saddle horse; original was 12–14 hands high, bred up in size from 16th century.
Freiberger, aka Swiss Mountain Horse. Saddle, pack, light harness. 19th-century breed?
Russian Heavy Horse, aka Russian Heavy Draft Horsesee above.
Akhal-Teke. Saddle horse, warhorse. Ancient breed.
Iomud, aka Iomudskaya (Russian), Yamud (Iran). Saddle horse. Ancient breed.
Good site with descriptions of breeds and picturessome descriptions are spotty.
International Museum of the Horsebreeds of Europe. Provides good descriptions and photos.
All the descriptions above are based on my interpretation of the information available. Anyone with further information on any of the above mentioned breeds or breeds I've left out is welcome to contact me at Baen's Bar in the "1632 Tech Manual" conference.
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