The exceptional athlete and magnificent show jumper, which today is popular all over Europe, America, and Asia, originates from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. It has gained a strong reputation from having shown great results in show jumping. Here you can learn more about the brave and strong Holsteiner.
GOING ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE 13TH CENTURY
The Holsteiner is one of the oldest horse breeds in Germany. In fact, there are records dating back to the 13th century, when the Count of Holstein and Stormand gave grazing rights to a monastery in Uetersen. The monks at the monastery bred horses in the area right up to the Reformation. After which private landowners took over the breeding to create a horse which could work both in agriculture and in the military. The Holsteiner was valued in the military for his great courage and ability as a war horse. And in agriculture the horse was known for its strength, endurance, and reliability.
A SPORTS HORSE IN THE MAKING
Up through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Holsteiner’s reputation grew across Europe with 10,000 exported horses in 1797. As the need for warhorses decreased, British stallions of the breeds Yorkshire Coach and Cleveland Bay, which were put into the Holstein breeding, were imported to create a more noble riding horse with better gaits.
After World War II, the breed was bred with English thoroughbred to give the Holstein better jumping skills. The breeding work has developed into one of the largest German sport horse breeds, which is suitable for dressage and riding, but in particular show jumping.
You may also like to read: The Icelandic horse: A versatile and friendly legend
A BIG AND STRONG HORSE
The Holstein is usually between 155 and 173 cm high, and it can have all pure colors. In the past, the horse was primarily used as a draft and driving horse. Later, the breed has been mixed up with some more noble blood, resulting in the modern riding horse we know today.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HOLSTENER
Traditionally, the breeding characteristic of a Holsteiner is a brown horse that has few or no white markings. The desire is for a well-balanced horse. The horse must have a large, natural, and elastic movement. The head should be beautifully chiseled with character-filled eyes, the neck should be long, strong, and curved and rise from the shoulder so that the horse gets an elegant and light radiance.
THE MODERN HOLSTEINER
The Holsteiner breed has had a great influence on the development of other warm-blooded breeds. Today, the Holsteiner is often found among the horses that achieve top rankings at competitions around the world reaching top placements among the best in the world – which counts both the World Cup and the Olympics. This is probably due to the horse’s strong physique and groundbreaking gait combined with its courage and reliable temper.
Grænseegnens Holstener Hesteavlsforening
Horses – illustrated reference work (2005)