August 23, 2008 | | Comments 0

Trakehner Horse

Trakehner Horse

Trakehner Horse

Rebuilding the Trakehner Heritage

Warmblood horses are often admired for their spirit and elegant conformation. Few however can be honestly regarded as the best of the best. The Trakehner, holds this distinction among many horse breeders.

Dramatic Origins

The Trakehner horse breed is not an ancient one. It does however have origins that can be traced across a few centuries. The origins of the breed are credited to Wilhelm I of Prussia who, in the 1700s, realized that there was a need for a new breed of military horses. Although the local horses available at the time were strong and hardy, the Prussian ruler wanted to add the traits of lightness, agility, speed, nobility and beauty. These traits were desirable because Wilhelm I wanted horses specifically for his military officers. Aesthetics and functionality had to be combined in one breed. This could only be accomplished with the introduction of other horse breeds into the local stock.

It was thus in 1732 that an official stud farm was established in Trakehnen for which the breed was originally named after. Although standards of selection were already around, strict selection and breeding was not fully established until a little after five decades. Later on, more foreign influence was also allowed through the Arabian and the Thoroughbred. Since the 19th century, Trakehner horses became renowned for their pleasing physical forms and their excellent performance. To this day, strict breeding selection standards and tests are followed.

The 1900s saw a decrease in the demand for light military riding horses. This was primarily because of the changing modes of war and transportation. Ironically, war still proved to be the undoing of this elegant breed. In the First World War, many horses of this breed were lost in the fields of battle. In the Second World War, when they weren’t used so much for land battles, their population was nearly wiped out by invading forces. The fraction of purebred Trakehner horses that were able to escape to the west were in critically low numbers. They did survive though and became the direct ancestors of the modern breed.

Trakehner Traits

Like fellow warmblood breeds such as the Arabian and the Thoroughbred, the Trakehner is a refined and graceful breed. At 15 to 17 hands however, horses of this breed are bigger than other warmbloods. They have larger bones and are generally more muscular. They have long necks, long backs, muscled quarters, sloping shoulders and sturdy joints. Like other warmbloods, it also has great spirit and stamina. It is however, often quite agreeable with handlers.

Although the Trakehner can be used as a riding horse, it is most often seen as a jumper or dressage performer. This is only natural. Such sports events only serve to highlight the beauty and grace of this excellent breed.

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