Noriker horse

The agile and sure-footed cold-blooded horses are predominantly found in Southern Germany and Austria.

Profile: Noriker horse


Noriker horse


Cold-blooded horse

Height at the withers:

155 - 165 cm


compact, muscular physique, dry head, strong neck with not too pronounced lower back muscles, sturdy back and strong legs.

Colour of coat:

almost all colours


well-balanced temperament, good-natured, obedient, motivated, resilient


sure-footed, even and rhythmic, highly regular




Austria and Southern Germany

Suited for:

carriage driving and riding

Facts about horses

Did you know? The South German Coldblood originates from the cold-blooded Noriker horse. While the breeding of Noriker horses continued in Austria, a more delicate breed of cold-blooded horses called South German Coldblood was developed in Bavaria in the mid-20th century. Today, these two breeds are still closely related.

Sturdy and sure-footed: Noriker horses.

Powerful horses from the Alps

Noriker horses are typical cold-blooded horses: strong and imposing on the outside, calm and well-balanced on the inside. The name is derived from the Noricum area, that was part of the Roman empire in the BC era and later became a province. Here these horses were already present about 2,000 years ago and developed from heavy war horses to motivated draught and working horses. Among others, they were used as packhorses that adapted to the Alpine landscape. Today, Noriker horses are still considered to be particularly sure-footed, and they are well suited for steep terrain. For decades, different horse breeds were crossbred at random. It wasn’t until the 16th century that archbishops from Salzburg introduced the first stud books to regulate breeding. From the 17th to the 19th century, numerous horse breeds were crossbred for refining Noriker horses, including English, Belgian, Neapolitan and Spanish horses. Since 1903, the cold-blooded horses are exclusively thoroughbreds. Today, there are about 10,000 horses mainly present in Austria and Bavaria. There are five breeding lines altogether, started by the stallions “Vulkan”, “Diamant”, “Nero”, “Schaunitz” and “Elmar”.

Noriker horses have a pleasant temperament, and they are capable of exceptional gaits.

Suited for many different situations

In general, the impressive mountain horses are similar to medium-weight cold-blooded horses. They have a rectangular shape and well-developed muscles. They are distinguished by their dry head, expressive eyes and wide nostrils. Their neck is short and strong, and they have a sturdy back. They have a nicely placed tail and a distinctly divided croup. Despite their compact physique, these cold-blooded horses are capable of harmonious movements, and they are highly agile. This gives them a very graceful appearance. Noriker horses come in many different colours. Brown, chestnut-coloured and black in the most different shades are the most common. But there are also blue roans, paint horses and leopard complex patterns, which are real eye-catchers.

The original working horses have a very well-balanced character. They are considered to be good-natured, with strong nerves, and they are very popular among riders due to their great reliability and their even temperament. Depending on the breeding line, individual characteristics are more or less developed. The “Vulkan” line is most common, and the horses have a strong and well-balanced character. The “Nero” line is particularly elegant. These horses have a good temperament and excellent gaits. Cold-blooded horses belonging to the “Diamant” line are more light-weight and have a wiry appearance with rigorous headlines and they are well proportioned. The beautiful leopard complex patterned horses can only be found in the “Elmar” line. These sleek horses are known to be spirited and elegant. Noriker horses from this line of breeding are extremely popular due to their beautiful coat. Cold-blooded horses from the “Schaunitz” line are also known for their lively temperament. They are very sturdy and particularly suitable for carriage driving due to their powerful and even gaits. 

In the past, Noriker horses were mainly used as working and draught horses for farm work. Today, their humble and well-balanced nature makes the beautiful cold-blooded horses popular recreational horses. Since they are very sure-footed, they are perfectly suited for long trail riding tours, even on difficult terrain. In Southern German and Austrian regions, they are used as a symbol in connection with farming traditions. As an example, the powerful horses are used to pull beautiful carriages for parades and pageants.

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