The Rheinisch Deutsches Kaltblut, is a breed of heavy draught horse from the Rhineland area of western Germany. It was bred in second part of the nineteenth century, principally at the Prussian state stud at Schloss Wickrath in Wickrathberg, now part of Mönchengladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The Second World War caused a drastic decline in the Rhenish German Coldblood. While there was a brief revival in agricultural use of horses in the post-War years, the progressive mechanisation of agriculture led to a further decline. The Wickrath stud was closed in 1957, and merged into the stud of Warendorf, in Westphalia. By 1975 there were eleven mares and two stallions registered in the stud book. Numbers have slowly recovered, and in 2013 were reported as 1173 mares and 149 stallions.
The Rhenish German Coldblood was listed as “endangered” by the FAO in 2007 it is listed in Category III, “endangered” on the red list of the Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen.
Because of the political division of Germany in the aftermath of the Second World War, which lasted until the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, there was for more than fifty years no possibility of interbreeding between populations of the Rhenish German Coldblood in West Germany and those in the East. Three regional sub-populations of the breed developed in East Germany during this time: the Altmärkisches Kaltblut in the historical Altmark region, the Mecklenburger Kaltblut in the historical Mecklenburg region, and the Sächsich-Thüringisches Kaltblut in Thuringia and the former province of Saxony. As a result of their long reproductive isolation, the Mecklenburger and Sächsich-Thüringisches sub-populations, while genetically indistinguishable, are genetically distinct from the Rhenish German Coldblood of the western part of the country.
Other names: Rheinisch Deutsches Kaltblut — Rheinisch-Deutsches Kaltblut — Rheinisch-Westfälisches Kaltblut — Rhineland Heavy Draft — Rhenish-German Coldblood — Rhenish German Draught Horse — Altmärkisches Kaltblut — Mecklenburger Kaltblut — Sächsisch-Thüringisches Kaltblut
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