The Trakehner is a European warmblood horse that is the oldest
and most highly bred of all the German warmblood breeds. It
is today’s only purebred riding horse breed that was systematically
created from the indigenous Prussian horses. The breed’s name
comes from the world famous royal main stud farm that was
established in 1732 in Trakehnen by King Friedrich Wilhelm
1 in what used to be East Prussia (Germany) but is now part
of Russia. This was where the foundation for the breed was
laid and all bloodlines can be traced back to this source.
King Frederick Wilhelm I of Prussia wanted his soldiers to
have reliable transportation that was faster, sounder and
with more endurance than that of his contemporaries, so he
opened the stud farm in 1732 where he established the Trakehnen
stud by using the indigenous Schweiken horse as a base. In
the beginning, these Prussian horses were plain, stocky, yet
strong and hardy, but they needed some added size and refinement.
This Schweiken, or Schwaike, is a larger descendent of the
Konik pony which is a direct descendent of the primitive Tarpan
and the Schweiken, which flourished for many centuries in
the region, shows the Tarpan’s extraordinary natural vitality,
hardiness, strength and powers of endurance.
When Count Lindenau took over the stud management in 1787,
he eliminated 2/3 of the stallions and 1/3 of the broodmares
and began allowing private breeders to bring their mares to
be serviced by the royal stallions. Later, during 1817 to
1837top quality English Thoroughbreds and purebred Arabians
were introduced in small quantities to the small native Schweiken
mares; a practice that is still followed today under strict
approval conditions by the West German Trakehner Verband.
Various other breeds were tried, but eventually the breeding
directors limited themselves to Thoroughbred and Arabian crosses
to the Schweiken since the results were exactly what the King
Wilhelm I was looking for: a balance between the size, nerve,
spirit and endurance of the Thoroughbred to the bulk, stability
and nobility of the native breed with further refinement coming
from the Arabian. The selection process for the King’s cavalry
mounts was strict and allowed only the best to be bred, while
the average horses, the culls, was sold as riding horses.
Before World War II, the Trakehners were the most successful
sports horses and hunters and the 1936 Olympics saw Trakehner
Warmbloods win six gold medals and one silver medal. But by
the end of 1944, horse breeding in East Prussia came to a
sudden end when families fled westward in the face of the
Russian invasion and the survivors owed their lives to their
Trakehner horses carrying them there. From the main stud Trakehnen
only 27 broodmares could be saved ahead of the invasion, but
fortunately the breed continued to live on with the primary
breeding area now in West Germany.
The Trakehner was first introduced into North America only
in the late 1950s when the breed was first imported to Canada
and later into the United States. By 1956, there were only
602 mares and 45 stallions left in the world and the Trakehner
population had reached rock bottom.
Trakehner Warmbloods were then imported into Great Britain
in 1960 by the Muschamp Stud and have steadily gained in popularity
since. In fact, Trakehner Breeders Fraternity (TBF) is licensed
by the Trakehner Verband GmbH in Germany to brand registered
horses with the distinctive double Elk horn emblem with an
inverted ’ V ‘beneath it to denote “British Bred .
Today however more than 5000 broodmares and 300 stallions
are registered with the Trakehner Verband GmbH in Germany
which makes the Trakehner one of the most significant German
riding horse breeds.
American Trakehner Association, (ATA) was founded in 1974
and not only registers the American bred Trakehners, but also
brands them. Purebred Trakehners are eligible to receive the
double moose antler and curved under bar, while part bred
Trakehners are eligible for the ATA design. If the horse already
has a brand from another registry, however, it cannot have
ATA brand. Branding is optional, but is encouraged as a way
to showcase the Trakehner breed and as both identification
and as a theft deterrent.
The Trakehner Warmblood Horse is a large equine, standing
15.3 to 17 hands, with the average at 16 16.2 hands. It has
great substance and boning, yet shows a surprising refinement;
more so than any other European Warmblood. It has an attractive
head perched on a long neck with high withers and a deep chest.
It is a superb performance sport horse with a natural elegance
and balance that excels in dressage because of its elegant
way of moving. It has a light, springy, floating trot and
soft, balanced canter, both made possible by its deep, sloping
shoulder, a moderately long back and medium length pasterns.
The breed also produces excellent jumpers due to the powerful
hindquarters, good feet, strong joints and muscling. The Trakehner
is bred in only solid colors.
The Trakehner horse has grace, power, magnificent movement
with natural balance and fantastic athletic ability, but the
most outstanding characteristic of the Trakehner is its friendly,
accepting, eager to please temperament. They are keen, alert
and intelligent and have a level headed ability to undertake
intense work and concentration when asked. With all these
characteristics, the Trakehner Warmbloods continue to excel
in most equine disciplines, though most especially in show
jumping and dressage.
However, the European Trakehner Warmblood should not be confused
with the Russian Trakehner Warmblood, which is a slightly
different breed. The Russian Trakehner is rangier and lighter
in weight and its legs have generally cleaner lines, especially
the cannons and the fetlocks. It is an excellent mover, and
since the Russian Trakehner Warmblood horse is used to being
kept in herds, it is more economical to keep. Although it
is not as enduring as the endemic Russian horse breeds, the
Russian Trakehner Warmblood horse does compares favorably
with its European warmblood cousin.
Author Resource:-> Crystal Eikanger is a writer for
classifieds of Trakehner Horses for sale