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Published: 2024-01-08 17:54:32 Categories: Guides Rss feed


Photo taken by Sylwia Piwoń.

The Silesian horse is one of the Polish breeds and one of the heaviest warmblood breeds in Europe. These strong and massive animals have a nice temperament and powerful, and elegant gaits. The breed is commonly used not only in carriage driving but also in horse riding. Their history and international success are definitely worth knowing.

The Silesian horse – breed history

The Silesian horse, in Polish known as Śląski, originates from studs in the area of Upper and Lower Silesia, at first mainly in Książ and Lubiąż in the 19th century. The breed was created by crossbreeding Oldenburger mares with East Friesian stallions – extremely heavy breeds.

The different environment and training allowed people to breed horses with finer and lighter bodies yet still being heavy, and extremely strong from a breed that contained a lot of Oldenburger genes. At that time, the Silesian horse was perfect for agriculture work and the quickly developing industry. The breed was eagerly used in the mining industry to work in mines. The Silesian horse’s popularity spread from Silesia to southeastern Poland.

The next step that secured the breed was the creation of official state breeding in the middle of the 20th century. It was conducted in:

  • Horse studs: Strzelce Opolskie, Strzegom, and Wojanów,
  • Stallion studs: Kożle and Książ,
  • The Silesian Horse Breeding Centre for private breeders.

In the 70s, the Committee of the Stud Book officially stated two breeding types:

  • Silesian horse in an old type – heavier, higher resemblance to Oldenburger horses (the third generation can only have up to 4 Thoroughbred ancestors in its pedigree);
  • Silesian horse in a new type – lighter, higher resemblance to riding horses (the third generation can only have up to 6 Thoroughbreds ancestors in its pedigree);

These days (from 1997), the only state stud that breeds Silesian horses is the stud farm in Książ.

The Silesian horse – anatomy and characteristics

Silesian horses differ in anatomy based on the previously mentioned two types:

  • Silesian horse in an old type

These horses have massive, heavy bodies yet are proportional; they resemble the body of an Oldenburger horse. The head is also big and bony with prominent jaws. Silesian horses of this type might also have a convex head profile. The neck is usually long and muscular, just like the body. The breed has a characteristic croup which is wide, muscular, straight, or slightly sloping. The old type of Silesian horses has rather light and slim legs with wide cannons, as well as dry joints. Their hooves are big yet proportional to the body. The breed has an energetic walk and elastic, forward trot.

  • Silesian horse in a new type

Thanks to the greater influence of Thoroughbred genes, these horses are lighter, finer, and resemble a riding horse. The lighter features include a slimmer head as well as a long and sleek neck. The croup and shoulder are visibly sloping. This type is perfect for both – carriage driving and horse riding.

Height: 160-170 cm

Old type: mares – 158-168 cm, stallions: 160–170 cm

New type: mares – 162-168 cm, stallions: 164–170 cm

Weight: 680 – 720 kg (1500 – 1580 pounds)

Coats: bay, dark bay, black bay, black, and grey (uncommon). Any other coat disqualifies a horse from breeding.


Photo taken by Wiktoria Komenda.

Are Silesian horses a draught breed?

As explained above, this breed has draught horses as ancestors, yet it is categorized as a warmblood breed.

The Silesian horses – importance

The old type of Silesian horses

These horses are perfect for carriage driving, however, not the competitive type. Silesian horses will also be good for transporting goods for example in protected areas (e.g. National Parks) where usage of technology is restricted to guarantee the least possible human influence on nature.

This breed is also great for recreational riding thanks to their nice temperament. What’s more, their smooth and light movement has an easy rhythm for beginners. This means adept riders gain confidence quickly and learn how to ride all gaits fast. Additionally, thanks to their size, Silesian horses can carry adult men.

The new type of Silesian horses

They have a lighter body than the old type, which allows them to be more agile. These horses will perform great in carriage driving thanks to their rhythmical and forward gaits. That is why, the test required by the breeding program, checks the Silesian horse’s abilities in pulling carriages.


Photo taken by Wiktoria Komenda.

Most important events in Poland dedicated to Silesian horses:

  • Yearly carriage driving tests of stallions
  • Carriage driving tests for mares
  • The Silesian Horse National Championship
  • Horse shows in Siedlce, Poręba, Poznań during the National Farm Animal Show Polagra-Farm

In the international carriage driving competitions, Silesian horses gained quite a big success:

  • The first success went to Silesian horses (Brener, Brylant, Dolar, Hak, Humus, Leopold, and Muszkieter) that along with Władysław Adamczyk participated in a four-in-hand competition.  They won the team bronze medal during the World Cup in 1980 in Windsor and the individual bronze medal as well as the team silver medal during the European Championships in 1981 in Zug
  • Bronze medal won by Czesław Konieczny during the World Cup in 1987 in Riesenbeck in the pair of horses category, as well as the team silver medal and 6th individual place during the World Cup in 1995 in Poznań

Other successes of the breed in carriage driving:

  • Sonet (bred by Stud Książ) with a driver Bartłomiej Kwiatek – the individual gold medal during World Championship in 2018
  • Lokan (bred by Stud Książ) also with Bartłomiej Kwiatek – the silver medal during the World Championship in 2010
  • Bazyli (bred by Stud Książ, sired by Lokan) World Champion of Young Horses in the 6 year old category in Mezohegyes (Hungary) in 2015 and the bronze medal in the 7 year old category in 2016
  • Frezja (bred by Stud Książ) with Bartłomiej Kwiatek – the silver medal in 6 year old category in 2015
  • Epilog (bred by Stud Książ, sired by Lokan) with Weronika Kwiatek – the bronze medal during the Young Horse World Championships in 2016 (7 year old category)
  • Rebelia (bred by Stud Książ) with Bartłomiej Kwiatek – the silver medal during the Young Horse World Championships in 2016 and the bronze medal in 2017
  • Eter (bred by Jan Wiszniowski) with Weronika Kwiatek – the bronze medal during the Young Horse World Championships in 2017 (7 year old category)

The new type of Silesian horse is present in dressage and show jumping competitions. However, show jumpers must remember that due to their weight, Silesian horses cannot jump big fences. Injuries caused by show jumping in this breed are much more common and can be more serious than in other lighter warmbloods. What’s interesting, some of the Silesian horses were able to jump up to 120-130 cm, sometimes even 140 cm. At some point in history, Silesian horses were supposed to be bred for show jumping and resemble hunter jumpers.

The abilities of Silesian horses were tested also in eventing (stallion called Lanson with rider Caroline Pratt got into the top of the Olympic team).

In dressage, Silesian horses got into the Polish Young Horse Dressage Championships multiple times, some even won the competition (mare Regentka and Marta Kupska, Bastion and Żaneta Skowrońska, and horses Rejent, and Dajluk with Daria Kobiernik).

Ancestors of Silesian horses were used in the military as remount. These days, there is rising popularity for the breed among uniformed services – in police and city guards. The big size that inspires respect and the calm temperament allows the bred to deal with difficult situations (for example during football matches in crowded and loud environment).

The Silesian horse – price

The price for Silesian horses starts from 15 thousand PLN (around 3 thousand pounds) and can reach up to 75 – 100 thousand PLN (around 15-19 thousand pounds).


Silesian horses are a breed that is slowly gaining popularity for being a Polish heritage gem. These horses full of graceful movements and immense strength are perfect for recreational riding as well as international competitions.


Your safety during horse riding should be of utmost importance. Protect your head and check out our shop: Riding Helmets

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