Parts of this article courtesy of Chris Hector: The Horse Magazine
Trakehners have always been a force in Australian Warmblood breeding. Trakehner horses were first introduced to Australia in the 1970’s with the importation of the mare, Ariadne and later the stallion, Benito, by Dr Horner. Beefeater Alfa, out of Ariadne (imp) by Aquillo xx, was unbeaten in dressage and Reserve Champion Hack at Perth Royal, 1979 and 81. My Learned Friend (Benito) ridden by Liz Mills (now Owens) won the Dietmar Specht Memorial Trophy at the 1986 National Dressage Championships.
In Victoria, Fred Astaire arrived in 1978. In NSW, Ken Souter imported two licensed stallions, Kaliber and Korrit and the mare, Mira, in 1980.
In 1980, Walter Sauer imported four Trakehner stallions – Königsberg, Polarschnee, Copernicus and Zwion, and six Trakehner mares and one Holsteiner mare, to Australia. In 1983, two more stallions, Domhardt and Kassiber joined the band.
Sauer also got his horses out and competing in public. Königsberg, at the age of fourteen, was sent eventing. Partnered with John Patterson, Königsberg was second after the dressage at Gawler in 1982 on a score of 51.2 - Königsberg had a good run cross country but was withdrawn before the showjumping.
Later Sauer imported Heidelberg and Hirte. Hirte was later gelded and sold to the US.
Kassiber was described as having been a member of the German Eventing team at the European Championships, although he competed as an individual, not a team member, in the European Junior Championships, but failed to present on the final day. Still in Australia he was flash enough to win the 1983 Australian One Day title at Echunga with Simon Kale.
Kassiber was one of the most successful sires to come to Australia. He produced a number of top class dressage horses: Kensington, Kudu, Solo, Spiegel, Socrates and Gumboot.
The grey stallion Polarschnee competed in a few showjumping classes, while the later arrival, Domhardt, competed up to FEI level before being sold to Indonesia.
In the West, Dr Horner of Beefeater Trakehners imported Elfenglanz in 1982, while Lyndon Woods and his wife, Sally Leigh (nee Horner) imported the black stallion, Lütz to their stud, Excelsior Trakehners, and later purchased the Sauer bred, Excelsior Fabian (Polarschnee / Feuerspiel).
Sally Leigh rode both stallions with success at FEI level. Elfenglanz was without doubt one of the most impressive dressage performers ever to compete in Australia, but had a head shake problem that prevented him ever making it to the top. Lütz competed with distinction at Grand Prix level.
In 1984, Polarschnee was sent to New Zealand, becoming the first Trakehner to stand in that country, producing the successful eventer, Jagermeister.
Domhardt spent a season in Tasmania with Ron Just, while Benito moved to John Tyrell’s Birdwood Trakehners in South Australia.
The German licensed stallion, Wesuw was imported in the early 80’s by the Cleary Brothers, and stood Supreme Warmblood at both the Sydney and Melbourne Royal Shows. The stallion Falkensee was imported from New Zealand in 2002, and now stands in Tasmania.
Trakehner breeding associations in Australia have been fairly volatile…The Trakehner Society of Australia was formed on October 25, 1985 with about 85 members at its peak, but two years later was facing opposition.
Australian New Zealand Trakehner Association was formed in February 1987 with the following manifesto:
“This group of twenty breeders, representing the interests of over eighty other breeders and friends, expressed dissatisfaction and frustration under previous arrangements and thus the ANZTA was formed.”
Then the New Zealand group broke away and it became the Australian Trakehner Association. The New Zealand group signed an agreement with the German Trakehner Verband in 1989 but in Australia, the Verband continued to be represented by the Trakehner Society until it was deregistered in 1996.
Trakehners Australia was formed in 2005, and as of 2007 is officially recognised by the German Trakehner Verband and has embarked on an exciting program of publicity for the breed and the breed society.