Horses of the Baroque Type

The Frederiksborg

The Frederiksborg breed from Denmark was once one of the most popular breeds for the equestrian discipline of Haute Ecole (High School). Lipizanners, Lusitanos and Andalusians are the more commonly recognised breeds of Haute Ecole which was at the height of its popularity in the 19th century. Denmark has few native breeds. However, the Jutland heavy horse, the Knabstrup and the Danish warmblood are all endemic to Denmark.

The Frederiksborg was highly prized as a good school horse because of its reliability while its elegance made it popular as a high-class carriage horse. The Frederiksborg had an influence on both the Lipizzaner and Orlov Trotter.

Fredericksborg HorseCredit: Wikimedia

King Frederik II of Denmark founded the Royal Frederiksborg Stud near Copenhagen in 1562 with the aim of breeding a horse with the strength and spirit for the demanding high school manoeuvres. Not only that, the breed was to have the speed and stamina necessary for an officer's charger and was to serve as a carriage horse on state occasions. Neapolitan and Iberian stallions were used on native Danish, Jutland and Holstein mares. Thoroughbred stallions were also used.

The main breed raised on the stud farm was the Frederiksborg but too many of the best breeding animals were sold outside the country. The Stud eventually turned to breeding thoroughbreds but closed in 1862. A few private breeders persevered with the old bloodlines and about 75 years later the breed made its re-appearance having been re-established with infusions of Oldenburg, Friesian, Thoroughbred and Arabian blood. In an effort to meet with modern equestrian requirements, more thoroughbred blood has been introduced.

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The animal is rather plain but has a level temperament and is strong and agile. It is a good riding horse and certainly a quality carriage horse. Danish farmers also use the Frederiksborg for medium draft work.

The Frederiksborg has a substantial but fairly short, slightly arched neck which is carried high on a deep, broad chest. The withers are broad and muscular and quite pronounced, the back straight and the loins rather broad. The croup is broad and rounded and the tail well set on. The shoulder is muscular and nicely sloping. The legs are rather long but well set and strong. The joints are broad and the feet small but with tough horn.

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The action is straight with some elevation and the trot is particularly striking. The head is well proportioned with a straight or slightly convex profile. The gaze is honest and intelligent and the ears pricked. The expression is alert and friendly. They are almost always chestnut in colour and stand from 15.1hh to 16.1hh.