The TRAKEHNER is one of the best, all-round competition or riding horses capable of performing at world class standard in jumping, eventing and hunter classes as well as dressage. Perhaps because of the hardy base stock from which it derives, and the careful use of Arab blood at selected intervals, it seems to have been better able than most warmhbloods to absorb the best Thoroughbred qualities while still retaining its own character. Its upgrading influence is evident in many of the continental sports breeds.
The Trakehnen originated early in the 13th century, in what was then East Prussia. The province was colonized by the Order of Teutonic Knights, who established a horse-breeding industry, using the indigenous Schweiken pony as a base. The Schweiken, much used in farming, was a descendant of the Konik itself a descendant of the Tarpan from which it inherits its natural vigor, toughness, and endurance.
In 1732, 500 years after the Order had colonized the area, Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, father of Frederick the Great, founded the Royal Trakehner Stud Administration on the drained marshlands between Gumbinnen and Stalluponen in the east of his kingdom. It became the principal source of stallions for Prussia, and renowned for producing an elegant coach horse that combined speed with stamina.
By 1787 the emphasis had switched to the production of remounts and chargers, and even at that early date an exhaustive testing system and detailed documentation of pedigrees had been introduced. This close attention to the detail of genotype breeding, supported by a series of performance tests, was to become the hallmark of warmblood production throughout mainland Europe. In its heyday during the 19th century, the stud at Trakehnen covered over 13,760 hectares (34,000 acres). It supported herds of mares that were divided by coat colour: chestnut, bay/brown, mixed colors, and black, which was a very dominant colour in the breed.
During the 19th century, English Thoroughbreds and high-quality Arab horses were introduced to upgrade the breed even further. Over the years, the former became predominantby 1913, for example, 84.3 per cent of all Trakehner mares were by Thoroughbred stallions. The breed was widely used in the First World War and the cavalry mount and was believed to be the best war-horse available. However, the Arab content always remained as ‘a powerful balancing element’ to offset any deficiencies in constitution or temperament caused by the Thoroughbred. An Arab mare herd still existed in 1936, and as late as 1956-1958 the Anglo-Arabs Burnus and Marsuk were both being used at the studs at Rantzau and Birkhausen.
The greatest influence on the Trakehner breed was the English Thoroughbred Perfectionist, a son of Persimmon. Foaled in 1893, Persimmon was bred and owned by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII (1901-1910), and was by St Simon out of Perdita HI, who in turn was by Hampton out of Hermione. Persimmon won the Epsom Derby and St Leger in 1896, and represents an important influence in the St Simon line. The blood of his son Perfectionist, along with that of Tempelhuter, the best of Perfectionist’s sons, appears in nearly all modern Trakehner pedigrees. When Tempelhuter died in 1932, he had produced 54 stallions and 60 brood mares at Trakehnen. The Perfectionist/Tempelhuter line, and the Dingo line, which owed much to Tempelhuter’s daughters, provide the base for the modern Trakehner.
The Trakehner stands between 1.63 and 1.68 m (16-16.2 hh.) and has an impressive record. Trakehners dominated the 1936 German Olympic teams, which won every medal at the Berlin Games, and have continued to be successful in international competition since the Second World War.
Trakehners In Australia
Australia’s love affair with quality warmblood horses is continued with the Trakehner , you can visit the Australian Trakehner website here http://www.trakehnersaustralia.com.au/ There are sufficient breeders and horses in Australia for the Association to operate Trakehner only programs however the breeds is also seen in general competition where it performs at a high level. As with many of the European warmbloods they are sometimes crossbred in Australia with local thoroughbreds to create an even more athletic variety.