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Publication type: Diploma Thesis

Year: 2015

Author(s): Hertwig, Katharina

Title: Die Kaltblutrassen Mittel- und Südosteuropas.

Other title: Characterization of cold-blooded horse breeds in Middle and Southeastern Europe

Source: Diplomarbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 201.


Brem Gottfried

Licka Theresia

Vetmed Research Units:
Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Unit of Reproductive Biology

This thesis describes the historical development and actual situation of heavy draft horse breeds in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary. The presented information was gathered using literature and internet research. In addition a questionnaire was sent to the breeding associations of the single countries, which was unfortunately not as helpful as expected, as only approximately 50% of the answers were received and could be evaluated. In order to give a better understanding of the described horse breeds, the official breeding standard (including the breeding program), the present situation and population, the main breeding associations and stud farms and the breeding history are presented. In addition the agricultural situation of the countries is described at the beginning of each chapter. Being of great importance to farmers all across Middle and Southeastern Europe for centuries, heavy draft horse breeds were nearly completely replaced by modern technologies during the middle of the 20th century. Only in countries with smaller farm sizes and hardly reachable area, like mountains and forests, especially Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia small populations of heavy draft horses are still being used for working in the field. Due to their decreasing importance in the agricultural sector and missing breeding subventions by the governments most of the breeds are endangered of extinction, as 25% of the described horses breeds exist in a population of 250 animals or less. The smallest number of horses can be found among the German Pfalz-Ardenner with a total number of 28 (situation in 2012) and the Hungarian Muraközi with a total number of 51 (situation in 2013) animals. Nowadays the survival of the heavy draft horse breeds mainly lies in the hands of lovers and private organizations which appreciate their quite temper for sport and leishure time activities. With their help it was possible to stabilize the population of some of the horse breeds, as for example the Swiss Freiberger now comprise a total number of 21.000 animals in the year 2011. Besides to the usage of heavy draft horses for meat production, which is still very popular especially in Southeastern Europe, they play a huge role in the traditional heritage of the countries and are often used in tourism or brewery fairs.

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