The official name of the Trakehner is ‘The East Prussian Warmblood Horse of Trakehner Origin’. In 1731, King Frederick William I of Prussia established the Trakehner line in the Prussian town of Trakehner, which is now found in Russia and bears the name Yasnaya Polyana. Trakehners are warm blooded horses descended from a small but hardy Prussian horse called a Schwaike which was bred with fine and athletic thoroughbreds and Arabic breeds. 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.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Perissodactyla
Family - Equidae
Genus – Equus
Species – Equus caballus
Common Names – Trakehner
Trakehners can be found in almost any color but their bearing and gait are extremely similar. For a large horse, they have a light build and a sensitivity to their rider, making them ideal dressage mounts. They have been used as military and sport horses as well as, oddly, plough horses but they excelled in all of their duties.
The stud book for the breed is considered 'closed', meaning that only Trakehner animals are allowed to breed, although some exceptional thoroughbreds are allowed to enter the book occasionally. During the height of breeding at the original Trakehner facility, mares and stallions were kept in great herds based on their coat color since they found that the differences in coats corresponded to different desirable traits. Today they are bred mostly to refine and improve the entire breed.
Trakehners can be a little more spirited than other warm bloods, placing them closer to their hot blooded relatives, but they are a hard working and dependable horse, always eager to please. Their intelligence has been their greatest asset in their centuries long existence and it one of the reasons people worked so hard to save them after the disastrous events of World War II.
Most Trakehner horses today can be traced to the stallion Tempelhüter. Tempelhüter was the son of another foundation stallion Perfectionist xx and he is considered to be the ideal Trakehner stallion. A statue of the magnificent horse was placed in the town of Trakehner until it was taken to Moscow and displayed in front of their horse museum. A replica was later made for the Horse Museum in Verden, Germany. The breed was nearly driven to extinction after World War II and it was only with great effort that it was saved. Countless animals died during the war or were taken to Russia as a foundation for their impressive sport breed, the Russian Trakehner. Others were killed while trying to escape the battles and an unknown number were used for food by a desperate populace.
Posthalterin was the daughter of the foundation stallion Perfectionist xx and she also produced a foundation stallion of her own. The breed was nearly driven to extinction after World War II and it was only with great effort that it was saved. Countless animals died during the war or were taken to Russia as a foundation for their impressive sport breed, the Russian Trakehner. Others were killed while trying to escape the battles and an unknown number were used for food by a desperate populace. Of the huge herds of brood mares who had flourished at Trakehner, only 21 survived the war. With other mares scattered throughout Germany, they formed the basis for the breed of today. Foundation mares like Kassette, Polarfahrt, Donna, Tapete, Halensee, Herbstzeit - names known to the Trakehner community - were incredibly important at this time and they all found a home thanks to the efforts of individuals and the German government.
Today Trakehners are an internationally respected breed and they are so revered within Germany that the government takes an active role in the refinement and protection of the breed.
- American Trakehner Association
- Trakehners International
- Department of Animal Science - Oklahoma State University
- Sport Horse Conformation: Evaluating Athletic Potential in Dressage, Jumping and Event Prospects by Christian Schacht