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What is a Trakehner?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The Trakehner is a breed of German warmblood horse. These horses are considered by some to be the finest of the German warmblood breeds, and the history of the breed is very old. Many breeders of warmbloods use Trakehners to improve their stocks, crossing the Trakehner with Hanoverians, for example. Like other warmbloods, the Trakehner is ideally suited to equestrian sports such as dressage and jumping, and these horses often appear in top-level competition.

The Trakehner breed began in 1732, with the establishment of a stud in Prussia. The stud crossed sturdy Prussian mares with more refined stallions to create an athletic, amiable all-round horse which could be used for riding and fieldwork. In the 1800s, the stud at Trakehnen for which this breed is known made the decision to introduce Thoroughbred and Arabian blood to their stock, and the groundwork for the modern Trakehner was born.

This horse is among the lightest of the warmblood breeds, and the Arabian influences of the breed are often quite visible in the Trakehner. These horses are quite large, with long necks and backs, powerful hindquarters, and bodies built for endurance and grace. Trakehners are well known for their very elastic, floating gaits which are often further refined through dressage training, and they are extremely good natured, friendly horses, like other warmbloods.

In Germany, the preservation of the Trakehner breed is taken very seriously, especially since it was nearly lost during the Second World War. The Trakehner studbook is closed, admitting only horses of certified Trakehner parentage along with a few select Thoroughbreds and Arabians to keep the breed genetically diverse. Before stallions are admitted into the studbook and given breeding privileges, they are carefully inspected and put through a series of demanding trials to ensure that they are sound examples of this old and very famous breed.

The symbol of the Trakehner is the moose antler brand which is used in Germany to identify horses who have been admitted into the breed's studbook. These horses can often be seen in Olympic competition along with other German warmbloods, and they also make excellent casual sport horses in locations like the hunt field. Because the breed is rather prestigious, high-quality Trakehners tend to command a high price, although savvy horse buyers can sometimes pick up a deal on a younger horse at one of the annual Trakehner auctions held around the world.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By PurpleSpark — On Dec 30, 2010

As the article stated, the Trakehner is a very elegant and refined horse. The Trakehner won many Olympic Gold Medals in the Olympics in 1928, 1924, and 1936. It survived near-extinction during World War II.

The Trakehners are light horses and usually weigh less than 1,500 pounds. The Trakehner has a rectangular looking build. It has short cannon bones and flatter hindquarters. The head looks finely chiseled and is narrow at the muzzle. They usually stand between 15.3 and 17 hands high. They can be any color. However, the most common colors are bay, grey, chestnut, and black.

A Trakehner stud can be very valuable, as equine lovers look for that horse type to breed with.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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