History of the State Stud
Following the devastating consequences of the war and the division of Saxony in 1815, Saxon king Anton the Benevolent (1827-1836) decided to station 38 stallions in the stables of the hunting castle in Moritzburg, which had been built in 1733, in order to establish a stud farm (royal decree of 23rd January 1828).
By 1830, all prerequisites had been created to station more stallions out of the covering season. Apparently, there were many difficulties to define a breeding goal moving towards one direction, and breeding was very much influenced by and dependent on trends. Initially, too light stallions from almost all European breeds were used.
In 1873, however, the Oldenburg horse was introduced as binding breeding goal in the Saxon breeders’ interest. The first Oldenburg stallions had been imported as early as in 1871.
The Saxon Stable Master Georg Graf zu Muenster rendered outstanding services to the creation of a planned horse breeding policy in Saxony. So did he not only introduce a breeding register (stud book) in 1886, but he also initiated first mare and foal shows and further established foal branding. As early as in 1837, all foals of the royal Saxon stallions were branded with a “KS“ (for King of Saxony), after 1847 an “M“ (for Moritzburg), and from 1877 on the stylised crown embracing an “M”. ehemalige Brandzeichen des Landgestütes Moritzburg Besides these breeding efforts, mares and female foals from the Oldenburg breeding area were repeatedly imported directly. Old documents prove that the horses’ quality improved slowly. Additionally, in order to satisfy not only the demand of heavy warm-blooded horses but also that of cold-blooded horses for heavy work resulting from the intensification of agriculture, first Noriker and Percheron horses and later stallions from the Belgian-Brabantian breeding area were introduced, which were declared to be the binding breeding goal in 1911.
Between the two world wars, the quality of Moritzburg stallions was shown at exhibitions of the German Agricultural Society and other trade fairs in Leipzig, and it was renowned by the trade press. World War II caused considerable losses in the breeding area, most of the very valuable mare population, especially in East Saxony, was lost. The last Saxon Stable Master, Ernst Bilke, who first courageously stayed at the stud, even under Russian occupation, had to leave the stud farm in 1945. Later, he worked in Baden-Wurttemberg and in the Arabian Horse Association successfully. After 1945, the populations of warm- and cold-blooded stallions were enlarged purposefully in order to compensate the losses caused by the war and to provide horses to those farmers who had gotten some farm land in the course of the agrarian reform.
However, when horses became less important for agriculture by the end of the 1960s, the breeding focus shifted towards the creation of a native heavy warm-blooded horse, using English thoroughbred stallions for refinement. Among those who gained merits in the development of Saxon horse breeding and of the Moritzburg State Stud, especially Ms Dr. Hertha Steiner has to be mentioned, who was the Director of the State Stud from 1961 to 1985. It was her who managed to preserve the heavy warm-blooded stallions and initiated the change of the breeding goals from a native warm-blooded horse towards a modern riding horse. After the State Stud Kreutz in Saxony-Anhalt had been closed in the early 1960s, the Stallions Depot, as it was called then, in Moritzburg also started offering stallions for breeding in Thuringia. Since both breeding areas have always had the same breeding goal, it was possible to move towards the same direction using the same stallions. In the early 1970s, more than 20 thoroughbred stallions were involved in the process of re-oriented breeding, followed by Trakehner stallions and noble warm-blooded stallions on Hanover basis. This has influenced and shaped today’s riding horse breeding in Saxony and Thuringia significantly.
In 1956, another breed was introduced into the stallions’ population: Haflinger horses. These popular fair heads are that much searched after as leisure horses that today 9 stallions of this breed are stationed in Moritzburg.