Use and characteristics of the Jutland
Standing between 15 hands (60 inches/152 cm) and 16.1 hands (65 inches/165 cm), the strong Jutland breed weighs in at 1,430 pounds (650 kg) to 1,760 pounds (800 kg). They are very attractive horses with plenty of feathering on their legs, and flaxen manes and tails. In years gone by when farmers and tradesmen chose to buy a Jutland the base coat colours were bay and black. Today, the range of coat colours also includes grey and roan, but the glorious chestnut coat for which they are famous has taken on the status of a national colour in Denmark. Most breeders who sell a Jutland will have horses of this colour.
Origin and history of breeding Jutland horses
As with many breeds of horse, the origins of the Jutland are unknown, but claims have been made for horses of this type dating back a thousand years on the Jutland Peninsula. The evidence includes an image of a large horse on a stone monument from Denmark. However, horses played an important part in Scandinavian mythology, and so it’s impossible to say from such evidence that horses of this size and type really existed at this point. One of the heroes of a Danish ballad, Svend Fælling, is said to have acquired a horse from a Jutland miller in order to kill a giant. Only the Jutland horse was strong enough to do the job, since he was supposed to be capable of carrying 15 skippund (approximately 2,265 kg/4993 lb/2.2 imperial tons). While this is obviously not a real horse, it may be a humorous reference to the Jutland’s reputation for strength even in medieval times! It has been suggested that they were used as war horses, but even more significantly, it may have been the Norse who first used horses for ploughing, since the rest of Europe used oxen in early medieval times. Strong, small draught horses like the Fjord horse in Norway may have been the ancestor of all Europe’s heavy draught horses, and Jutlands may have been early contributors too. During the eighteenth century, Frederiksborg horses, with their Spanish ancestry, were influential on the horses of Jutland. The modern Jutland dates to the nineteenth century, when various breeds, including the Cleveland Bay and its close relative the Yorkshire Coach Horse, as well as Ardennes and Suffolk Punches, were bred to the Jutland horses. Draught horse experts claim similarities between the Suffolk Punch and the Jutland, although the Suffolk is a clean-legged breed without feathering. This may be down to the extremely influential stallion Oppenheim LXII, a Suffolk or Suffolk cross Shire stallion introduced into Denmark in 1862.
Jutlands in equestrianism
In the 1950s, 15,000 Jutlands were registered and today the breed numbers approximately 1000. As well as their brewery work, Jutlands are popular at shows and other events. A sculpture by Helen Schous "Den Jyske Hingst", the Jutland Stallion, is a tribute to the breed in Randers, where there was a famous horse fair.