Trakehner Breeding

It has been said that the Trakehner has everything most people are looking for in a performance horse and if you look at the breed’s list of attributes it is easy to see why.It has been said that the Trakehner has everything most people are looking for in a performance horse and if you look at the breed’s list of attributes it is easy to see why.

The Trakehner is the most important and outstanding of all warmblood breeds, renowned for their grace, power, magnificent movement, outstanding beauty, great ability to perform, they are naturally balanced and free. Best of all, they have an ideal temperament - keen and alert, yet level-headed and able to take intense work. They have a willingness to work and due to their intelligence they learn extremely quickly.

Trakehner Stallions

Abdullah

Abdullah - Trakenher Stallion

Abdullah combines two of the most famous postwar breeding lines in his pedigree, that of the stallion Pregel on the sire side, and that of Maharadscha on the mother side. Both with significant Arabian blood lines from the mutual great-grand sire Fetysz ox. As state stud sire in Marbach Pregel had considerable influence on the changes in breeding emphasis to a concentration of riding horses in Baden-Wurttemberg horse breeding. Apart from Donauwind, he brought 8 further approved sons for the Trakehner breed. Abdullah’s sire Donauwind with his characteristics features is one of the most influential hereditary transmitters of riding horses in Trakehner breeding. 

Abdullah is the most successful showjumper in the history of Trakehner breeding. Under his rider Conrad Homfeld, he won inter alia, team gold and individual silver medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was the 1985 World Cup Winner in Berlin, best horse of the 1986 World Championships in Aix-La-Chapelle and multiple Prize of Nations winner in the American team Abdullah was approved in 1985 by the Trakehner Association as a result of his performance achievements. His impressive show record includes in 1980 winner of the Cleveland Grand Prix, the Cheltenham Gold Cup Grand Prix, {also in 1982} the Detroit Jumper Classic Grand Prix, the Boston Grand Prix, and the 1983 Rome Grand Prix. In 1987 Abdullah was 1st in the Dinard Grand Prix, and the New Hampshire Grand Prix. Before starting showjumping Abdullah was an accomplished

Abdullah’s progeny are found through the world. Two sons Abracadabra, and Airborne, are already in the hoofsteps of their famous father in International showjumping. In Germany Abdullah’s daughter Pochette, sovereignty won the broodmare test in Telgate. His progeny regularly bring top prices at the elite auctions, as with Regensburg, the most expensive filly foal which brought a top price of DM 18,000 (£6275} at the 1991 Neumunster auctions. In France Capdula du Tillard, and Un Beerenauslee, both stallions are jumping very successfully at Grand Prix level. In the US and Canada Abdullah’s offspring are numerous and include well over 400 offspring throughout the country. By 1987, three of these offspring had received the highest honour in the United States, winning the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year Award for their division. 

Rudiger ATA Approved stallion 1994 Dressage Winner at Third & Fourth Levels: Adulation 1989 International Jumper Futurity Final Top Ten,1991 AHSA Horse of the Year - Am. Owner Hunters: Kirin, 1990 International Hunter Futurity Grand Champion, Donauland, 1991 International Jumper Futurity Top Ten Finalist,1992 International Jumper Futurity Competition Winner for 5 Year Olds,1993 International Jumper Futurity Top Ten Finalist 5-7 Year Olds, Abracadabra, 1992 International Jumper Futurity Top Ten Finalist,1994 Preliminary & Intermediate Jumper Champion,1993 Trng. Level Horse of The Year WNY Dressage Association, Grand Prix winner, Special Memories, 1991 International Jumper Futurity Five Year Old Champion, Approved ISR Breeding Stallion, Approved ATA Breeding Stallion, Pearl Peak, 1993 International Jumper Futurity Champion 5-6 Year Old,1994 Open Jumper Multiple Class Winner, Agincourt, 1993 International Jumper Futurity 4 Year Old Top Ten Finalist, Airborne, 1994 Intermediate Jumper Champion, Open Class Winner $50,000 (£33,000} Newport Grand Prix, 2nd 1995 Pan Am Games Ind. Silver,1995 Pan Am Games Team Bronze, 

Abdullah has proven himself to be an exceptional sire of performance horses. He produces large, athletic offspring who exhibit his obedient gentle temperament and jumping ability. He crosses very well with Thoroughbred mares. 

Suchard

Trakehner stallion Suchard is an up and coming talent. No surprise really, considering that his great-grandsire Ozean produced, amongst others, the grandsire of super progenitor Grannus. In January 1992 Suchard was licensed by the Trakehner studbook. With 105.94 points he claimed 10th place out of 22 participants. Suchard`s ancestors supplied him with 8.5% Arabian blood. 

Sir Shostakovich xx

Sir Shostakovich is known as one of the most popular Thoroughbred stallions in the Trakehner breeding programme. He raced and won in both Ireland and Germany.

Also worth mentioning is the impressive jumping ability of his progeny, which might be the reason why the Holsteiner bought him. One of his sons , Donaumonarch`s dam Donauquelle is a full sister to the sire Donauglanz.

In 1994 Donauquelle enjoyed much success at the Federal Mare Championships. She and her 3 daughters won the title of Federal Champion Broodmare Family. 

Trakehner History

The Trakehner, is the warmblood closet to the British ideal of the modern competition and riding horse, whose upgrading influence of bloodlines is evident in most of the continental sports breeds today. The popularity of this breed in Britain is growing at an astounding rate. The breed height ranges from a minimum of 15.2hh but the average is between 16hh and 17hh. They are usually solid colours, chestnut, bay, black or grey.

The Trakehner is the “Thoroughbred” of warmblood breeds, it is more closely related to the Thoroughbred than other German breeds having had major influence in the stud book from the English Thoroughbred and to a lesser degree the Arab and Anglo Arab. Due to selective breeding the Trakehner has retained the best thoroughbred qualities while keeping its own special character and “type”. The “Lloyds Bank Black Horse” is a Black Trakehner Stallion!

Before German unification in 1871, Germany was made up of a number of different states and locally organised breeding areas. As a result horses bred in the area of Hanover became known as “Hanoverian” and a horse born in Westphalia became a “Westphalian”. However the Trakehner is the exception to this breed naming rule, as they are known as Trakehners wherever they are born, the stud book is governed solely by bloodlines. Infact Trakehner stallions were and still are widely used to improve and refine all the regional breeds.

The History of the Trakehner

The Trakehner horse was developed in the early 18th century by King Wilhiem I of Prussia, the father of Friedrich the Great, seeing the need for a new type of cavalry mount for the Prussian army. War tactics had changed and now required a lighter more comfortable horse with more endurance and speed than the heavier horses previously needed to carry armour and haul heavy equipment. The King wanted horses for his officers to ride, attractive enough to make them proud, solid enough to stay sound, with a comfortable, ground-covering trot that would enable to travel quickly and efficiently. He chose the best horses from seven of his royal breeding farms and in 1732 moved them all to the new royal stud at Trakehnen, began selective breeding among them and the Trakehner breed evolved. The breed has been selectively bred since that time with a closed stud book.

History was to deal the Trakehner a nearly fatal blow. The breed had easily recovered from the population being halved during World War I, but in October 1944, as World War II was in its final stages and the Soviets were closing in on the lush and beautiful area around Trakehnen, orders came to evacuate the horses from the Trakehnen Stud. About 800 of the best horses were hastily transferred both by rail and by foot but unfortunately they did not go far enough west. Most of them, together with all their documentation, eventually fell into the hands of the Russian occupation forces and were shipped to Russia. The private breeders and their horses, however, were determined to save their valuable horses. What followed was a horror story that went down in history as “The Trek”. Hitching their precious breeding stock to wagons laden with personal possessions and all the feed they could carry, these proud East Prussians fled, some 800 horses strong. They were mostly women, children and elderly people and they were leaving their whole lives, bringing along only what their wagons could hold. It was the dead of winter. Snow was deep on the ground, and the broodmares were heavy with foal. Many horses were left behind to be claimed by the advancing Soviets and many were lost or let loose along the way to be eventually taken in by the conquering troops or to die.

The East Prussians headed west, literally running for their lives. They could not stop when mares lost their foals or horses went lame or became ill. Their feed ran out and the horses had to live on what they could scavenge along the way. For two and a half months and 600 miles the nightmare continued, while the refugees were constantly pursued by Soviet troops. At one time it looked like the East Prussians had reached the end. The Soviets had them surrounded on the shores of the frozen Baltic Sea. The only escape was across the treacherous expanse of ice, so across they went - at times knee deep in water covering the ice - galloping to stay ahead of the ice breaking behind them. If any dared to stop or attempt to dodge the fire of the Russian planes overhead, they were doomed to sink helplessly into the freezing water. Many did not make it across.

At last the survivors limped into West Germany, the once proud and beautiful 800 horses reduced to less than 100 pitiful skeletons, carrying wounds from shrapnel. Only the hardiest had survived. The next decade was spent re-establishing the breed in the West. In October 1947, the West German Association of Breeders and Friends of the Warmblood Horse of Trakehner Origin, today know as the “Trakehner Verband” was formed, replacing the East Prussian Stud Book Society. Horses that had fled to the west were spread all over Germany and only a few hundred Trakehner horses of the original 80,000 in East Prussia were available by the time the rebuilding process began, for though between the Trek and various other evacuation attempts, almost 1000 horses had actually reached the safety of West Germany, most of them were eventually lost to the breed. However these horses became the founders of today`s Trakehner horse. A very hardy breed.

Trakehners came to the UK

The first Trakehners were imported into Great Britain in 1960 by the Muschamp Stud and since that time they have steadily gained in popularity and have won the hearts of many enthusiasts.

Today the Trakehner Breeders Fraternity (TBF) are the controlling body in the UK, licensed by the Trakehner Verband GmbH in Germany to register, grade and brand horses with the distinctive double Elk horn brand with the inverted ‘V’ beneath to denote “British Bred”.

Today there are in excess of 150 registered or approved pure-bred Trakehners, with almost double that for the Part-Bred register. There are 21 graded stallions and approximately 100 graded mares. The TBF register approximately 50 pure bred and 70 part bred foals each year. As from 1998 there is also an optional part bred brand for foals registered with the TBF Part Bred Studbook.

The Trakehner Stallion is one of the most valuable sires used to improve and upgrade stock from mares whose owners want to breed a competition horse (or just a wonderfully reliable friend) from their mare. Whether the mare is of Thoroughbred origin or from a native breed, all have proved to cross extremely well with the Trakehner, bringing better movement, beauty and a good temperament to the offspring.

The Success Of the Trakehners

The record of Trakehners in competition is impressive. The Trakehners won every medal for the German Olympic team in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. In recent years horses such as Abdullah who carried Conrad Homfeld to win a team Gold and individual silver medal for USA at the 1984 Olympics and Goldkorn by Istanbul winner of the Danish Show Jumping Derby in 1989 under Hugo Simon.

The famous dressage rider, the late Dr. Reiner Klimke has ridden many Trakehners to Grand Prix level including the famous Fabian and more recently Biotop. Peron achieved 4th place at the Atlanta Olympics, and Waitaki, partnered by Holger Hetzel is presently competing on the World Cup ind International Circuit. And there are numerous successful Partbred horses with Trakehner blood including the famous show jumper Milton. And also this years World Cup Winner Tinka’s Boy ridden by Marcus Fuchs, even though by the Dutch Stallion Amor, is going back in his ancestry to the Trakehners Heristal and Hyperion.

Trakehners today have won Olympic medals for all disciplines Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping as well as winning Long Distance Riding and Driving events. Trakehners show more stamina than other warmbloods and have done well in the Eventing world (particularly when crossed with the Thoroughbred). The British Trakehner Stallion Fleetwater Opposition by Muschamp Danube (Standing in the UK) was Junior European Three-Day-Event Champion before retiring to stud. Utopian Opposition is competing Grade A showjumping and Summersong is an Olympic Eventer. The Individual Gold medal for Eventing at the Barcelona Olympics was won by a Trakehner. Karen Bassett is the World’s leading lady team driver with her team of Trakehner horses. The famous mare Corna by Illuster (who until his death in 2000 was standing in the UK) was the Champion Riding Horse of all breeds in West Germany in 1985. Recent Olympic Dressage stars include TCN Partout ridden by Anky van Grunsven and Merlin TSF under Caroline Hatlapa.