Horse breeding in the Black Forest is documented from the early fifteenth century in the records of the Abbey of Saint Peter in the Black Forest. A type of heavy horse, the Wälderpferd, was used for forestry and farm work; it is conjectured that the Schwarzwälder Kaltblut horse derives from it. The main area of breeding lay between the northern Hotzenwald to the south and the Kinzigtal to the north. Breeding was concentrated round the monasteries of St. Peter and of St. Märgen; for this reason it was formerly known as the St. Märgener Fuchs.
After the end of the Second World War, there were more than 1200 breeding mares registered. With the mechanisation of agriculture and of transport, demand for working horses fell rapidly, and by 1977 the number of mares had fallen below 160. In 2007 its conservation status was reported by the FAO as “endangered”. In 2017 a population of 88 stallions and 1077 mares was reported; in 2019 the breed was listed by the Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen in its category III, gefährdet, “endangered”.
The Schwarzwälder Kaltblut horse is active and energetic, very gentle draft horses. They are agile, strong, persistent and sure-footed. The horses are very fertile, have good health and a high life expectancy.
Their medium size and, for a Coldblood, light stature make them valued family and leisure horses. They are used as carriage horses as well as for forestry work for logging. Leisure riders and drivers appreciate the uncomplicated and capable Schwarzwälder Kaltblut horses for treks.
The Schwarzwälder Kaltblut horse almost became extinct in the 1970s, when there were only about 160 mares left. Through a sustainable breeding programme the breed has made it back into a larger population with around 1000 registered broodmares in Germany. Although the breed is still endangered by this, it is experiencing a clear upward trend and the Black Forest is becoming increasingly popular among leisure riders and drivers. Only the colour diversity of the breed is still highly endangered, the numbers of bays, blacks and greys is extremely rare.
Black Forest Draft Horse — Schwarzwälder — Schwarzwälder Fuchs — St. Märgener Fuchs — Wälderpferd — Cheval de Trait de la Forêt Noir
All my pictures of rare and endangered horses can be licensed for private, editorial and commercial usage, and ordered as Fine Art Print as well. In addition, the albums only show a part of my large archive. Contact me directly if you don’t find what you are looking for.
Here are some places where you can see where you can support the rare and endangered breed. Above all I want to thank everybody who works with me.
Take part in my projects Forgotten Horses and Free Horses and consequently make an impact that matters. By photographing rare and endangered horses we can raise awareness to disappearing horse breeds and therefore preserve equine diversity.
Do you want to see more of my photos? Please follow my accounts on Instagram and on Facebook and don’t miss any new updates and pictures of my projects.