The Trakehner Horse is a German horse that got its name from the state of Trakehnen where it originated. It is the oldest warmblood breed horse from Germany.
The horse was nearly wiped out during World War II. Its numbers fell from 80,000 to 1,000 putting it in danger. Since then the numbers have increased and the German federal government has assumed responsibility for the horse.
The horse is an athletic one that is easy to keep and amiable to be trained. It is used extensively in dressage, show jumping, and other events. This horse is used to train riders and can be managed by all levels of riders.
The history of this horse can be traced back to the 1700s. The Prussian King Fredrick Wilhelm I was looking for fast transport horse for his army. He commenced a stud farm in East Prussia at Trakehnen. Native horse breeds like the Schwaike were crossed with native Thoroughbred and Arabian horses to create this breed.
Trakehner horses were those bred at this stud farm. Other breeders used to buy a mare from here and cross them with a Trakehner stallion. These horses were referred to as East Prussians. After the first world war, the horses were put for farm work after restrictions were imposed on Germany.
During WW II, the Germans evacuated the stud and fled. They were bombed by the Soviets and as a result, hardly 700 horses reached safety. West Germany was left with just 50 stallions and 600 mares. In 1947, the Trakehner Verband was created. The American Trakehner was formed in 1974 in the United States. The association kept track of all the horses in North America.
Today the Trakehners breednen is considered the responsibility of the federal German government.
One of the significant characteristics of the Trakehner is the floating trot. This is a unique trot of this horse, which has both impulsion and suspension. The horse has a distinctive rectangular build. It is a warmblood horse and considered one of the best and refined of its type.
It is an athletic and elegant horse. Its temperament has led it to be used for riding and also for show jumping and eventing.
This horse breed belongs to the category of horses known as ‘easy keepers’. These horses are easy to maintain a don’t require a special diet. They need nutritious forage and can even do without a feed concentrate.
Since the horses are used in show events, it is important that they get nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals. The diet needs to ensure this is provided. Easy keepers tend to become overweight due to excess feeding.
To avoid this, grazing in pastures should be regulated. The diet for the horse depends on physical activity and body weight.
Breeding And Uses
The stud book of this horse was setup in West Germany in 1947. Dr. Fritz Schilke, the director of the East Prussian stud book society is credited with this. Today is the Verband, as well as the Trakehner GmBH that handles the breeding of this horse in Germany.
Annually inspections are held in October to select stallions. The tests include tests for gait, jumping ability, and temperament. Successful horses are awarded a license.
The horse is commonly used as a riding horse. It is extensively used in equestrian events. A horse Abdullah won a team gold and an individual silver at the 1984 Olympics.
The Trakehner’s height is usually between 15.2 hands (157 cm or 62 inches) to a maximum of 17 hands (173 cm or 68 inches). The horse is known for being a large one.
The horse weighs around 1,200 pounds on average.
What Breeds Make Up The Trakehner Horse?
Schwaikenpferd that was a local horse in East Prussia was the base horse breed used to make up the Trakehner horse. Arabian horses and Thoroughbred horses were used to breed this horse. This was done to ensure the king’s objective of creating a strong and athletic horse was achieved.
Hanoverian blood was also added to this breed subsequently. A Thoroughbred stallion named Perfectionist is believed to be the source for most of the modern Trakehners. To reduce the flaws in the Thoroughbred variety, Arabian blood was added.
These horses are known for having beautiful coats. They come in different types of colors. There are no restrictions on color in the breeding of this horse. Some of the common colors include black, chestnut, roan, bay, grey, and pinto.
What Do They Look Like?
The horse is strong, athletic, muscular, and elegant. This is ensured thanks to its bloodline. It has a noble appearance. The rectangular build of the horse is a unique feature. It has a well-set neck that can be medium or long. The sloping shoulders of the horse are long and slope down.
It has a refined head that is perfectly chiseled giving it a noble appearance. It has large eyes that appear kind. Its broad forehead makes it look intelligent. It has a back that is strong and medium in length.
The horse is known to have powerful hindquarters. It has strong and muscular legs. The hooves are solid and the joints are broad. The floating trot movement makes the horse appear to float when it walks.
What Are They Used For?
Trakehners are commonly used in show jumping. It is a dressage horse used in many equestrian events. One of the most famous Trakehner was Abdullah that lived from 1970 to 2000. The horse won individual silver and team gold at the Olympics. Windfall II was part of the US Olympic-winning bronze medal team.
Downlands Cancara and Beatos are well-known horses featured in advertisements. Heuriger, a Trakehner Stallion was named as the most successful stallion in dressage in 1994.
Where Do They Live?
Trakehners are German horses belonging to the former East Prussia. They are found extensively in Germany. Many horses were exported to the US, where the association monitors the breeding of this horse in North America.
How Long Do They Live?
The average lifespan of horses is around 25 years. Trakehners also fall in this same group and would live for 25 years, which is a fairly long life span.
These horses are easy keepers. They generally do not face any serious health problems. However, due to their Arabian bloodline, there are certain genetic problems this horse may face. Lavender foal syndrome is a fatal condition that can cause seizures.
Severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome is another serious condition that can cause pneumonia and death in foals. Cerebellar abiotrophy can make a foal at risk of suffering accidents. These are some rate conditions that a Trakehner can face.
How Fast Are They?
This horse is considered one of the ideal sporting horses. This is thanks to its strength and agility. They are warmblood horses and hence generally gallop slowly. They have an average speed of around 15 miles per hour.
How Much Do They Cost?
Trakehner horses can be expensive. This is because of the athletic ability of the horse and its ability to participate in dressage and other events. The price of the horse would depend on factors like age, gender, and experience.
Prices of the horse can start from $6,000. It can go up to $30,000. The best horses would be priced higher and can go up to $48,000.
Are Trakehner Horses Good For Beginners?
This horse is strong and athletic. It has a very even temper. It is loyal and has a friendly nature. It is an intelligent horse that can be trained easily. The horse is usually eager to do what its rider or master directs it to. This makes it a horse suitable for all riders.
However, it must be noted that the horse is not just strong but a large one. Beginners may find it difficult to handle the horse. Younger riders may also find it a bit tough to handle such a large horse. This is why the horse is ideal for those who have experience working in large horses.
Conclusion / Summary
Trakehner horses are German horses that originated in East Prussia in the Trakehnen town. The horse was bred with the intention of creating a strong horse capable of transporting soldiers.
Since it was bred from Thoroughbred and Arabian horses, this horse has developed into a very strong and intelligent horse. It is ideal for use in dressage and show jumping. Many of the horses have done successfully in events. The horse can also be used for riding.
The breed suffered terribly after the second world war when most of the horses were wiped out. The modern Trakehner is doing well in both Germany and in the USA. The warmblood horse is even being used to influence or refine other breeds such as the Dutch, Danish, and Swedish warmbloods.