The Jutland is the national draft horse of Denmark. It is a heavy draft horse that was in existence even before the Middle Ages. It has a strong, muscular body and was used by the medieval Danish army as a draft horse. Today, the Carlsberg Brewery uses Jutland horses to haul beer across Copenhagen, and it has become a source of national pride among the Danes.
The most noticeable thing about the Jutland is its size. It stands from 15 to 16 hands high (60-64 inches, 152-163 centimeters). The horse has an average head attached to high-set neck. The withers are flat and wide, and the back is short, muscular and strong. The legs are correctly set and powerful enough to carry the immense weight of the horse, which is around 1500 to 1800 pounds.
Jutland horses also have hair feathers on their legs. The horse comes in chestnut, and on rare occasions, black and brown. Its tail and mane are usually lighter in color.
Personality and Temperament
Despite their size and strength, Jutland horses are good-natured. Jutland horses have a reputation for being docile, kind and obedient. They are very willing to perform heavy work, making them suitable for hauling heavy cargo or for doing strenuous farm work.
The Jutland horse is strong, but it still requires proper care. To avoid over-exertion, lameness and other such problems, it is advised that owners correctly install harnesses and regulate the horse’s activities. The Jutland horse also has to be fed sufficient amounts of food regularly.
History and Background
The Jutland horse got its name from its place of origin – the Isle of Jutland in Denmark. The Jutland horse was bred in the 1100s as a heavy warhorse, carrying men in full armor into battle. 9th Century artwork depicting horses with Jutland characteristics suggests, however, that these horses were used even earlier.
The first organized, selective breeding of Jutland horses was begun in 1850; the purpose was to develop a heavy horse that could be used for farming. One notable point in this project was the introduction of Oppenheim, a Shire stallion with Suffolk ancestry imported during the late 1800s from England. One of his descendants was the stallion Aldrup Mendekal. This sixth-generation descendant of Oppenheim is considered to be the keystone in the development of the Jutland breed. Two of Aldrup Mendekal’s sons – Prins of Jylland and Høvding – are considered the great-grandfathers of all modern-day Jutland horses.
The stud book for the Jutland breed was started in 1881. Since then, around 22,000 horses have been registered. The first Jutland horse breeders association was formed in 1887, while the Cooperative Jutlandic Breeding Association was formed in 1888. In the same year, annual Jutland stallion judging commenced and has continued ever since.
During the late 1920s, Jutland horses became closely associated with the Carlsberg brewery. Carlsberg, at one time, had as many as 210 Jutland horses; this has gradually diminished to the current 20 horses that transport Carlsberg beer across Copenhagen.