Thursday, August 2, 2012


Trakehner Horse
I've been watching a lot of Olympics coverage lately, and this morning was the start of the team Dressage competition. Without writing an essay, Dressage is an Equestrian Sport where a horse and rider perform a series of moves within an arena. "Horse Ballet" is a term sometimes used, and it's not far off. The horses perform very practiced moves, and there is a huge amount of training involved in the discipline. The sport even dates back hundreds of years.

Most horses involved in Dressage are "Warmbloods," including today's breed. The Trakehner's roots date back to 1732, when Fredrick William I of Prussia established a stud farm at Trakehnen. These early representatives of the breed were stockier than their modern counterparts, but that all changed in the 1800s when Thoroughbred and Arabian blood was added to the line. The result was ultimately a large, intelligent, stable horse with great endurance that could be used for both farm work, and for cavalry purposes.
Trakehner doing Dressage

Trakehners continued to be bred in East Prussia until World War II, when approaching Russian forces forced an evacuation. The breed was reduced to only 600 broodmares and 50 stallions. Trakehners have since rebounded, and their governance in Germany is overseen by the federal government, including the Trakehner Verband. Pureblooded Trakehners are often branded with the emblem of their national association.

The Trakehner stands between 16 and 17 hands tall, and had strong hindquarters and a springy "flaoting trot" gait. Today they are used for farm more than just military and farm work, and they excel at a number of Equestrian sports, including Jumping and Dressage. The breed is often used to refine other Warmblood breeds. Because Trakehners have Arabian and Thoroughbred blood, breeding them to other Warmbloods allows for the traits of those "Hotblood" breeds to enter the gene pool, but without the need for risky direct crosses.

Status : Domesticated
Location : Originated in Prussia
Size : Height up to 16hands
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Perissodactyla
Family : Equidae -- Genus : Equus -- Species : E. ferus -- Subspecies : E. f. caballus

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