Switzerland is one of the countries world renowned for its financial sector, chocolates and watches. He is also recognized for his standard of living which is one of the best in the world. But there is also something few know, Switzerland has its own breed of horses. Today we will talk about the Freiberger horse, a 100% horse raised in Switzerland.
The truth is that Switzerland is more than the things that foreigners know and the Swiss have decided to preserve their identity. That’s why they make efforts to preserve the history of their watch industry. They also preserve their chocolate tradition.
As it could not be otherwise, Switzerland’s history has great changes. The Freiberger horse has been an ally in military conflicts and developments in Switzerland’s agricultural sector.
In this article we will address the birth of this fabulous breed, its characteristics and its history. A horse that was on the brink of extinction but that the conscience of the Swiss today preserves its breed.
Currently the “Swiss National Stud Farm” aims to preserve the Freiberger and improve this breed of Swiss horses.
The “SNSF” contributes to agricultural research by making the Freiberger a versatile horse. Its intention is for the Freiberger to serve for agricultural activity, walks, shooting and horseback riding.
Without a doubt the Freiberger receives the attention that each breed of national horses should receive.
But let’s discover a little more of the Freiberger, this beautiful breed of horses typical of Switzerland.
Characteristics of the Freiberger horse breed, Switzerland 100%
The Freiberger is a medium-sized horse. It has a walk of great flexibility.
A good-natured horse that will delight anyone who works with him. Its character and other characteristics were the result of a very rigorous selection.
For the breeding of this breed of Swiss horses, health, mental conditions and ease of driving were taken into account.
Currently this type of horse is less common in Europe. Switzerland has developed this breed of horse, not only to play a sporting role, but to contribute to the development of regular activities such as agriculture.
He is considered a light draft horses. Thanks to the crossing of the original draft horses working in agriculture and military activity with sports horses.
This situation almost led to the extinction of the Freiberger in Switzerland but we will see that later.
Thanks to the combination of different skills it is a multipurpose horse. The Freiberger is suitable for horse riding, it is a family horse, it is suitable for leisure but also for driving coachs.
In areas where it is most appreciated is in driving, in the agricultural industry and recreational horseback riding.
It is considered that finally this horse is a middle ground between hot-blooded horses and draft horses.
Its breeding program stated in 1997 that its objective was to obtain a horse “noble, quiet, typical, medium size, high performance, very sociable and adapted to the needs of the Swiss market”.
The lighter ones are used for riding while the heaviest horses of this breed are used for driving.
History of the Freiberger breed – Switzerland
With more than two hundred years of history under its hulls, the Freiberger horse from Switzerland has a lot to tell us.
It was initially developed to contribute to the agricultural tasks of farms in the Jura Valley. Over time they have become a versatile animal valued in both the military and leisure spheres.
Its development was mainly concentrated in the nineteenth century and has its origins in the agricultural mountain horses of the fourteenth century.
The crossing of these mares with European horses resulted in the base of the Freiberger. It is considered that the two stallions that founded the Freiberger breed in Switzerland were Vaillant and Imprévu. These are the most important genetic lines today.
It is towards the end of the nineteenth century precisely when the race acquires its name. Even that race without acquiring today’s homogeneity was divided into subtypes. Only by the end of the twentieth century would the race end up homogenizing.
After the Second World War, given the mechanization of agriculture, draft horse went to the background. That is why the Swiss National Haras began a change in its policy to make a lighter horse making crosses with European horses.
This change in politics from the 1960s almost caused the Freiberger horse to become extinct as we know it today. Later the policy changed to preserve the Freiberger horse as a light draft horse.
From 1997 the genealogy book of the Freiberger breed was closed for external races. Today a selection of the best specimens within the breed is maintained to continue improving it.
The Freiberger and the Swiss National Haras
It is appreciated as a draft horse for rides and for competitive sports.
With the support of the Swiss National Haras, a wide range of disciplines and sciences are used to protect horses and promote equestrian practice.
Working on both their behavior and their genetics this group has managed to develop the Freiberger as an excellent breed.
The Jura Valley – Switzerland
Jura Valley is the birthplace of the Freiberger horse. The official horse from Switzerland is still being developed here. It is a beautiful place that preserves its rural essence and its agricultural areas.
The turmoe has also become an important activity for the Jura Valley. Currently in the Jura there are many outdoor activities such as:
- Alpine skiing
- Cross-country skiing
In the Jurá Valley, there are also some activities such as horse riding and Freiberger horse-drawn carriage rides are a great attraction.
And another thing that attracts tourists is the so-called “valley of watches” but which we will talk about at an next opportunity.
The Freiberger horse breed, a national heritage
Undoubtedly Switzerland is a visionary country. Preserving its equine livestock reserves demonstrates its vision of a risk-conscious and balanced country.
Today we know that natural resources are not infinite and that in case of emergency we have to go back to old technologies.
The horse has an applicability in the strategic, military and agricultural part. Preserving them in the event of a technological catastrophe can be the key to survival.
On the other hand, preserving our ecological heritage and animals makes us aware of its value. The care and management of the Freiberger Breed by Switzerland is an example to follow.