In the early 18th century in Prussia, King Friedrich Wilhelm I began a breeding operation in which he hoped to create cavalry horses that were fast, strong, full of endurance, and able to withstnad harsh conditions. Additionally, the horse had to be pretty because his officers would be riding them. In 1732, he gathered his best cavalry horses and brought them to the royal stud farm called Trakehnen. These horses were carefully bred to produce the best horse possible. During the early 19th century, Thoroughbreds and Arabians were added to the breed, further refining it. The finished product was called the Trakehner, after the farm it was bred in.
By the 20th century, the Trakehner had become extremely popular as a successful sport horse, with lots of them living throughout Prussia. When World War I broke out, though, the population of Trakehners took a huge blow and was almost halved. Breeders were able increase the Trakehner's numbers through careful breeding, but many were once again lost toward the end of World War II, when Russians invaded Prussia. Only about 100 Trakehners were left. Despite their small numbers, dedicated breeders worked hard until the Trakehners gained the popularity it has today, with registries in multiple countries.
Trakehners came to American in the 1960s, and gained popularity throughout the country. In 1974, the American Trakehner Association was founded, bringing together Trakehner fans throughout the country.
|Trakehners excel at dressage. credit|
Breed Description and Uses
The Trakehner is a light, refined warmblood breed, standing an average of 15.3 to 16.3 hands high, with long legs, rounded hindquarters, sloping shoulders, and a long neck. Its face is slightly dished, something inherited from the Arabian.
Though they can perform in jumping and eventing, Trakehners are prized as dressage mounts because of their graceful way of going.