Up until the 17th century, horses in the region of Oldenburg were likely small and plain, but strong enough to be used to work the heavy soil of the Frisian coast. These horses would become the foundation of the Oldenburg's neighbors from Holstein to Groningen. One of the first to take a vested interest in organized horse breeding was Count Johann XVI (1540–1603). Johann XVI purchased high-class Frederiksborgers from Denmark, refined Turkish horses and powerful Neapolitan and Andalusian horses for use with his own breeding stock. His successor, Count Anton Gunther (1583–1667) not only brought back from his travels the most desirable horses of the time, but made the stallions available to his tenants.