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Black Forest Horses: Breed Profile, Photos and Care

By Anne Forsberg


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The Black Forest horse breed has always been considered one of the most unique draft breeds out there.

These horses are known for their great temperament and their versatility. Not only that but they’re also incredibly popular, even though they’re also quite rare.

Because of this it’s no wonder that there are a lot of misconceptions that go around regarding this breed.

So, to clear all the smoke, in this comprehensive guide we will go over everything you need to know about the majestic Black Forest horse breed.

But before we get into that, let us first give you a brief list of the basics that you need to know about this breed.

This is in case you’re in a hurry or you don’t have time to read through everything right now. So, here is what you need to know about the Black Forest horse breed:

  • It is a medium sized horse breed
  • It is known for its long, flowing mane as well as its elegant strut
  • It is a very friendly horse breed that also doubles down as a family pet
  • It is a versatile breed that can be used in a wide range of practices, including for pulling carriages, working farmland and even competing
  • It is a rare horse breed

But if you want to know more then keep on reading because we’re just getting started. So, let us first go over the basics of this majestic breed:

Black Forest Horses: Origins & History

Black Forest Horses Origins
Photo by Nadine Haase / stock.adobe.com

The name of the Black Forest horse breed actually comes from its place of origin.

It is a known fact that this breed was developed somewhere in the Black Forest around the Baden-Wurttemberg region of Germany.

This all happened around 600 years ago, where the breed made quite a name for itself for the following reasons:

  • It was the strongest horse breed at the time
  • It was a very sturdy horse breed
  • It could survive even in the harshest winters
  • They quickly became a staple of the farming business around the region

Still, even though the breed was great on its own, it would be a lie to say that it was perfect.

So, for the next couple of hundred of years, the breed was eventually refined, preserved and improved upon.

In the year 1896, an official studbook was also created to help keep track of these horses and their purebred status.

Black Forest Horses Drenthe
schwarzwalderfuchs.drenthe / instagram.com

While the men and women in charge of this did their best though, it wasn’t enough and by the time the year 1986 rolled around their numbers were falling.

So, something needed to be done, as the number of Black Forest horses was dwindling down exponentially with every passing year.

The main reasons behind this downfall were the following:

  • The ever-evolving machineries took over the farmlands
  • Transportation models completely removed the need for Black Forest horses

Seeing as how low the number of Black Forest horses got, something needed to be done.

So, the remaining horses were all gathered and taken to special centers where they would try to preserve them.

Through their combined efforts, this year around 700 Black Forest horse mares were registered in total.

Black Forest Horses Appearance & Size

Black Forest Draft Horses
Monte Mirabella / Black Forest Draft Horses / facebook.com

While Black Forest horses are medium-sized for a normal horse, they are considered to be light to medium in weight for a draft horse.

Still, these horses can end up weighing in at around 1,250 to 1,400lbs or 560 to 635kg in total.

Mares on the other hand are a bit on the smaller size, growing up to be a maximum of 14.3 to 15.2hh or 59in to 62in in total.

The stallions can usually grow up to be around 16hh or 64in. So, while they are not the smallest horses around, they are quite small for draft horses.

Black Forest Horses Breeding and Uses

Black Forest Horses in Marbach
Photo by Xocolatl / wikipedia.org

As mentioned, the Black Forest horse is nowhere near as common as you’d think.

In fact, we would argue that this may very well be one of the rarest horse breeds around, with less than 700 of them registered in Germany.

To make sure that the breed doesn’t go extinct altogether, the Marbach stud in Germany is trying to preserve it.

To help entice farmers to invest in Black Forest horses, Germany’s oldest state stud farm advertise the horse breed as such:

  • It is a very versatile horse breed that can be used for a wide range of practices
  • Driving is its most popular usage these days
  • It can also be used for pleasure riding
  • It can keep up with the toughest of competition out there
  • It is a very elegant and graceful horse breed, which makes it perfect for dressage events

The Colors and Markings of the Black Forest Horse

Black Forest Draft baby Bentley
Black Forest Treeless Saddles / facebook.com

By far the most popular Black Forest horse is going to have a chestnut coat coupled with flaxen manes and tails.

On top of that the Black Forest horse can come in any number of different shades, with the coats usually appearing to be black in direct sunlight.

Their mane is also worth mentioning, as it is quite thick and flowing. Thanks to it, the horses are known to do very well in dressage events.

Since there are so few of them around, you may be forced to settle for a color over hunting a unique shade for your Black Forest horse.

Markings are not so frequent, but they make each of these rare horses one of a kind.

The Unique Characteristics of the Black Forest Horse

Black Forest Horse Unique Look
Photo by Youiesa / reddit.com

The Black Forest horse is known for the following:

  • Its great temperament
  • Its beautiful movement
  • It’s elegant and long-strided trot

Let’s start off with its temperament. This breed is known for being quite docile, which makes it perfect for both beginners and experienced riders alike.

On top of that, its beautiful movement makes this breed unique compared to most any other draft breeds out there.

Last but not least its trot is definitely one of its biggest selling points. It is very graceful and sophisticated, which makes it a very good choice for rich families.

We should also mention here the fact that the breed is very agreeable and well-tempered. What this means is that the breed will very rarely start any problems.

Instead, the Black Forest horse is a lot more likely to run away from danger or stressful situations.

All of these characteristics combined make this an incredible option for families, especially so for families with children.

Overall, this is a very low maintenance animal that even someone with no prior experience raising horses can take care of.

Black Forest Horse Breed Diet and Nutrition

Black Forest Mares

When it comes to their diet, these horses don’t need all that much of a special treatment to survive and thrive.

In fact, we would argue that Black Forest horses are easy keepers as well as you make sure that their diet contains the following:

  • Quality forage
  • A concentrate that can help make up for any nutritional deficits

You should also keep in mind that these horses can become overweight if you do not keep a close eye on them.

This is because they were raised in a very tough environment in the past. As such, they have evolved to make the most out of everything they eat.

So, if you allow them to live on a lush pasture all day long, your horse will more than likely become overweight.

So, keep a close eye on your horse’s body size and if they lose weight or gain too much make sure to give them a push in the right direction.

With that out of the way, you should know by now that these are very low-maintenance horses that don’t need a lot of special treatment in their lives.

In fact, this is yet another reason why these horses can make for the perfect companions for both beginners and experienced riders alike.

Common Health and Behavior Problems of the Black Forest Horse

Black Forest Horse Breed
Black Forest Horses / facebook.com

The Black Forest horse is a hardy breed that has no breed-specific diseases and conditions that it needs to worry about.

In fact, we would argue that the only real issue that you will need to keep a close eye on is your horse’s weight.

Other than that, these horses are known for being easy keepers.

As far as their behavior is concerned, these horses are known for exhibiting the following features:

  • They are very agreeable, which makes them easy to train
  • They are even-minded creatures that will do everything in their power to complete the task you put them up to
  • They are people pleasers, so they tend to listen carefully to commands and follow through with it to make you happy

Grooming Black Forest Horses

Schwarzwälder Kaltblut colt
Once Upon A Dream Acres / facebook.com

While grooming them is nothing special, the Black Forest horse still benefits a lot from regular grooming.

This is especially true if you want to take them to any competition, especially something like a dressage event.

Besides the standard grooming practices, you should also do the following:

  • Braid their mane and tail to keep them from tangling
  • Use a quality conditioning and detangling product to help their mane and tail shine
  • Make sure to brush them on a daily basis both before and after you ride them

Other than that, there isn’t all that much that you will need to do to keep your Black Forest horse clean and happy.

Keep in mind that grooming your horse should never feel like a chore either.

Use this time to interact and play with your horse, develop that close bond with them from this moment on with every grooming session.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Black Forest Horse

Riding a Black Forest Horse
Photo by Monika Kind / wikipedia.org

Every horse comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages, and the Black Forest horse is not special.

Here are the most popular advantages that we could think of when it comes to owning a Black Forest horse:

  • They have their unique beautiful and elegant trot
  • They’re very calm and docile animals, so they very rarely cause any problems on their own
  • They’re quite versatile, as mentioned they can be used in a wide range of practices

At the same time, there are two major disadvantages that you should know about when it comes to raising your own Black Forest horses:

  • They are very hard to find, in fact it may even be nigh impossible to find a Black Forest horse in the United States
  • Because of how rare they are, they will also cost you quite a lot to export them to the United States

With that being said, we would definitely say that this is one of those horse breeds that should never be pushed aside.

Owning a Black Forest horse is a very rare opportunity though. You should not miss out on it, especially considering their advantages.

Famous Black Forest Horses

Famous Black Forest Horses

Here is where we would usually have a long list of names to give you, but sadly we have none for you today.

That’s because the Black Forest horse is a very rare horse breed.

As such, very few champion horses made their way into any record books, so we don’t have any names to give you. Still, that’s not to say that this horse breed can’t be used in competitions.

Instead, we should mention here that this breed is known as a jack of all trades type of an option.

So, while it may not be the first pick on everyone’s list, it can be used in most practices and it can excel in them with the proper training too.

Is the Black Forest Horse Right for You?

Black Forest Draft mare Wendy
Black Forest Draft Horses / facebook.com

There are quite a few things to like about this breed, with the most notable aspects being the following:

  • Its versatility
  • Its hardiness
  • Its gentle and patient temperament

Its temperament is especially worth noting here. This makes the Black Forest horse breed a perfect option for beginner riders and drivers alike.

As far as their versatility is concerned, the Black Forest horse can be used in a wide range of practices, including the following:

  • It can work the farmland all day long
  • It can pull heavy loads and carriages
  • It can compete in any horse show out there
Black Forest Horses FAQs

As such, if you want to invest into a good horse breed that you can use in any discipline, the Black Forest horse may very well be the perfect choice for you.

While we can safely say that it is the perfect breed for a lot of reasons, we can’t dismiss the fact that it is also a very rare option.

So, this may not be the most practical horse breed to opt for if you happen to be living in the United States.

Still, if you happen to have the opportunity to buy a Black Forest horse or to adopt one, definitely go for it.

This is a very practical horse breed that will not disappoint you in any way, shape or form.

How Much Do Black Forest Horses Cost?

Black Forest Draft mare
Black Forest Draft Horses / facebook.com

Finding a Black Forest horse in the United States is pretty much unheard of, unless you have the money to back you up.

Still, there are a handful of breeders in America that can get you a Black Forest horse.

Because of how rare these horses are though; they do command high prices which makes them inaccessible to the average family.

If you are adamant on getting your hands on one though, you can work to connect with a breeder and you can wait until they find you one.

So, while they are very expensive and hard to get your hands on, they are surely well worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Black Forest Horses
Photo By anjajuli / stock.adobe.com

What Are Black Forest Horses Known For?

These horses are known for their versatility, as they can be used in a wide range of practices including the following:

  • Farmland workers
  • They can be used as packhorses
  • They can be used for pleasure riding
  • They can even be used in competitions

How Many Black Forest Horses Are Left in The World?

There are around 90 stallions and 1,100 Mares in the world as of the writing of this article. But only around 700 of them are registered though.

What is the Personality of a Black Forest Horse?

Black Forest horses are known for being very gentle, intelligent and easy to train animals.

What Country has the most Wild Horses?

Right now, that title is held by Australia as it is the home of the largest number of feral horses. It is believed that around 128,000 to 205,000 brumbies run freely here.


While we would love to say that getting yourself a Black Forest horse is easy enough for everyone, that’s not the case.

So, if you want to get yourself a more accessible alternative, you can always opt for the following breeds instead:

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About Anne Forsberg

Anne has been riding since she was only 5 years old and she's been obsessed with horses ever since. An avid horsewoman now, she loves horses and this sport more than anything else, sharing stories and info that she hopes will be helpful and meaningful to anyone who's on their path to become a better horse owner, a better rider and why not, a better person. Learn more about Seriously Equestrian's Editorial Process.

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