The History of the Trakehner Horse
As a breeder of Trakehner horses in Canada I am often asked by customers about the origin of the Trakehner breed, and when a friend asked me to write about the history of this remarkable breed, I gladly agreed.
To go into all historical details would be a subject of a whole book, so I will try to give you a brief glimpse into the Trakehner horses evolution.
In 1732 , by the Order of the German Kaiser Friedrich Wilhem 1st, the royal stud farm was founded in the province of East Prussia in the town of Trakehnen.
Skillfully and with great knowledge the stud managers responsible for developing this breed used local Prussian mares to breed them selectively to performance Arabian and Thoroughbred stallions. The result was what we nowadays call the oldest European purebred Warmblood breed.
Until today the only breed acceptable for the Trakehner studbook is the Arabian, Thoroughbred and, if acceptable in quality, a selected number of Anglo-Arabian stallions.
The Trakehner horse is famous for his energetic but good-natured temperament, expressive eyes and an attractive face, dry texture, strong bones with large solid joints.
The Trakehner with its nobility has traditionally been the horse of choice for many other breeds, looking for improving the conformation, performance or gaits, like the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburgs, Dutch Warmbloods only to name a few.
Up to the 2nd World war the Trakehner breed has been the largest studbook, counting approx. 26,000 mares and up to 835 breeding stallions.
This breed was the undisputed champion horse in all disciplines from Dressage to Eventing or show Jumping.
In the winter of 1944/45 during what the history books call the "great treck" as the people of the East Prussian province were fleeing from the advancing Russian troops, they wanted to rescue as many horses as they could. Thousands of people and horses perished during this treck. Some drowning in the frozen Baltic sea, trying to escape the Russian troops from the east, and the British fighter planes attacking the roads .The ice on the Baltic sea was just not strong enough to carry horse carts and people, consequently countless drowned in the icy sea.
Only approx. 60 stallions and about 600 mares made it to West Germany, and with the well known determination of the East Prussians a few steadfast breeders got organized again. They started among the ruins of a completely devastated Germany the German Trakehner Verband, and with great dedication they accomplished what could be called an unprecedented success in the history of breeding, they re-established an almost lost breed.
Today the Trakehner horse is bred in more than 17 countries around the globe.
During those last days of the war the Russians captured a large number of the best breeding stallions and mares as spoils of war, and brought them to the Kirow stud farm in the Rostov region. Strictly following the rules of the Trakehner studbook,
Some of the most precious bloodlines of Dampfross, Parsival, Pilger, Temperhueter, Ararad and Astor were used to develop the worlds largest Trakehner stud farm. Today the "Kirow Trakehners" are among the most successful representatives of this breed and are claiming their rightful place on the podium of top equestrian events again.
Trakehner horses have an enviable record in classical equestrian sports in Europe and around the world earning Gold Medals at Olympic and World equestrian competitions.
And today we are proud to be able to breed some of these valuable horses here in Canada.
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