Hanoverians, initially bred in Germany, are considered 'warm blooded' horses. Warm bloods were created when the 'hot blooded' horses of Arabian and Mongolian descent were bred with the 'cold blooded' draft and work horses used in Europe. Outside of racing and work horses, warm blooded horses are the breeds most commonly seen from quarter horses to saddlebreds. While there is a good chance that people have never heard of Hanoverians, they are actually the most active breeding society found in Europe.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Perissodactyla
Family - Equidae
Genus – Equus
Species – Equus caballus
Common Names – Hanoverian horse
One of the oldest of the warm bloods, Hanoverians were initially carriage horses and had stouter bodies than those seen today. Thoroughbreds were used to breed more lightness and athleticism into the breed after it began losing favor as a carriage horse. The breed today is sturdy but fast and is an extremely capable jumper. Colors can range from bay, chestnut, black, brown, and grey, but horses with an large amount of white or unusual markings will often be rejected by the societies.
Since 1888, there has been an international stud book to control and refine the breed. Only approved stallions and mares are used and the bloodlines can be traced back many generations. A stallion is presented to the society and is tested on movement, appearance, and jumping ability. If it passes the initial examination, the horse is given a temporary breeding license but must then undergo a seventy day evaluation in dressage, show jumping, and cross country before breeding eligibility is granted and this eligibility must be verifies each year.
There are several breeder's club events that strive to identify and reward the best mares and to promote their breeding. Hanoverian mares are listed in a handful of international registries (non-Hanoverian mares can be accepted with the right pedigree) so that breeding can be carefully monitored and refined. Mares are also evaluated in the stud books and the best - judged by rideability and talent, are considered Elite Mare Candidates. Once the elite mare candidate produces a foal, she is titled an Elite Mare.
Foals with both parents registered can themselves be registered but if only one parent is registered, that foal will be given only a Certificate of Pedigree.
Hanoverians are considered intelligent and are commonly seen in the Olympics. They are suitable for jumping and dressage events and are sometimes used as hunters. They are prone to a few health problems, including osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), osteochondrosis, and wobbler syndrome, which is a neurological disorder seen more often in dogs.
Hanoverians are one of the oldest breeds of warm bloods. In the 18th century, European cold blooded mares were bred with thoroughbreds to create a horse suitable for military use as well as being a capable carriage horse. Later, more thoroughbred blood was added to the line to lighten the horse and make it more suitable for sporting events.
Hanoverians are commonly seen in many dressage events and have several international organizations dedicated to their proper breeding.
- International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
- The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- Hanoverian by Freiherr Von Stenglin
- The American Hanoverian Society
- The Athletic Development of the Dressage Horse: Manege Patterns by Charles de Kunffy