Trakehner Horses

CorneliusWhat many people don't know is that Trakehners are Warmbloods. Even more, the Trakehners are the keystone, are at the foundation of modern warmblood breeds. Important is the definition of "modern day warmblood", meaning a lighter, more typey horse created out of the heavier older bloodstock, more suited for modern day sporting events than farming. As such, the Trakehner was used as an improver for most of the warmblood breeds.

As author and long-time director of the elite auctions at Verden, Hans Joachim Koehler, who passed away last November stated, "All Warmblood breeds used for producing riding and performance horses are not able to maintain their nobility, hardiness and good riding points, without continuous additions for improvement purposes of Thoroughbred and Trakehner blood". Mr. Koehler defines improving as "It is not only pointed at the nobility and beauty of the head, but encompasses the quality of the whole domestic animal which should be maintained in its nobility or made more noble if necessary", and this is what modern sport horse breeding is all about. Over 50 years ago, towards the end of World War II, as the Russian troops advanced on East Prussia, the main stud at Trakehnen was evacuated and the villagers from neighboring towns were forced to flee towards West Germany, in what is now known as 'The Trek'. Many of the great Trakehner stallions were lost, killed or captured, and countless mares, who valiantly pulled their owners with all of their belongings Westward, died along the way. The surviving horses, like their owners, were refugees in search of a home. This tragedy, which could very well have resulted in the end of the breed, had a curious upshot: many of these horses, already well regarded throughout the continent for their intelligence, good bone, hardiness, and magnificent gaits were 'adopted' by other breeds, disseminating Trakehner blood across Europe.


To meet the new and growing sport horse demands, Lower Saxony, the home of the Hanoverian, has used Trakehners on local warmbloods since they became available. The results have been outstanding. The most famous Trakehner stallion to stand in Hanover was Abglanz (1943) by Termit, who is at the basis of the very popular modern-type A-line of the Hanoverian breed. Abglanz, can be attributed with the change in type from farm horse to the modern riding horse. His most famous Hanoverian son was Absatz (1964-1982), who gave his type for generations to come. His line is known for producing typey horses, with pretty heads, well shaped necks and good movement. Very important Absatz sons are Argetan (1967), chosen by the German Hanoverian Verband as the 1994 stallion of the year, Akzent I (1977-), Akzent II (1978-) and Aktuell. Absatz has proven himself to have been a "mare maker", as well, with several of his daughters going on to produce approved sons: daughter Anka is dam of Weltmeyer, Champion of his Performance test at Adelheidsdorf, and sire of 70 approved sons, including Wolkentanz (who scored 181 in dressage at Adelheidsdorf), Wolkenstein I & II, Wonderland, Waikiki and Worldly; Abora is dam of Pommery; and the Absatz daughter Athene is dam of the chestnut, Grand Cru. In the US, the A-line is represented by the Absatz son Andric, standing at Yarra Yarra Equestrian Center in Pleasanton California. The Hanoverian S-line, characterized by particular toughness, was founded by Senator (1951), a son of the Trakehner stallion Semper Idem (1934). This line, which includes Sender, Servus and Sesam, has built an outstanding reputation as producting very versatile horses, superior in jumping and dressage, and with a willingness to perform, although the stallion line itself has lost favor in the past two decades. Other Trakehner stallions used in the Hanoverian breed are Lateran (1942) by Helikon, Hansakapitän (1941) by Bussard, Altan (1943) by Hirtensang, Cyklon (1943) by Helikon, Humboldt (1942) by Hutten and the Celle-based stallions Hessenstein (1958) by Komet and Inselkönig (1966) by Kapitän. More recently in Germany, two Hanoverian grandsons of the Elite Trakehner stallion Consul: the black Don Frederico, and the chestnut Don Vino, both by Donnerhall, were approved this year; and the flamboyantly colored Trakehner dressage stallion, Charly Chaplin, by E.H. Mackensen, has been installed at the Hanoverian State Breeding station in Hardenberg. As of 2001, the following stallions available through the Celle frozen semen program carry Trakehner blood: Airport, Alabaster, Archipel, Der Lord, Don Frederico, Don Vino, Fabriano, Fisherman's Friend, Foxhunter, Frenchman, Goodman, Graf Grannus, Graf Top, Grand Cru, Pommery, Rotspon, San Brasil, Santini, Servus, Trapper, Waikiki, Wanderbursch II, Wanderer, Welser, Weltmeyer, Weltruhm, Wolkenstein II, Wolkentanz, Wonderland and Woronow. § The original Oldenburg breeding stock was bred more for farm and driving work than to be used as a modern sport horse. Modernizing the breed was done through either the direct outcrossing to select Trakehner stallions or through the very careful use of top class Hanoverian stallions with Abglanz, Semper Idem and Lateran blood.

An important stallion that was standing in Oldenburg is the famous Grannus (1972-1993), who is registered Hanoverian, by Graphit and out of the State Premium mare Odessa by the Trakehner stallion Ozean. In his sire line, Grannus carries the much asked for blood of Grande, whose name is equivalent to "Jumping capability". The infusion of Trakehner blood gave this stallion more noblesse and made him more versatile with offspring now active at the highest levels of jumping and dressage, making him, four years after his death in 1993, the number one ranked sire of Jumpers. Grannus, who had a fairly lack luster Performance test at Adelheidsdorf (scoring 86.46 total), has sired a remarkable 80 approved sons who continue to spread his line. § In Hesse, the mares, which were of a heavier build, due to the high percentage of Oldenburg blood, were lightened using the Trakehner stallions Thor (1959) by Humboldt, sire of Titus and Torro; Mandant (1964) by Thor, sire of Magellan, Marcodeur, Mars and Mohr; E.H. Marduc (1976) by Halali, sire of Malteser Gold; Impuls (1953) by Humboldt, sire of Imperial; Gunnar by Komet, sire of Guido, Gunter and Gutenberg; and more recently E.H. Anduc (1981) by Marduc, and his son E.H. Angard (1986). Semper Idem's Hanoverian son, Senator, was also used on Hessen mares.


After the war, the Westphalian state stud at Warendorf was only reached by a very limited number of Trakehner stallions, but they did leave a mark on the breed. Very important are Humboldt, Abschaum (1942-1961) by Absinth, Cyklon and Hansakapitän. Trakehner stallions valued highly at Warendorf in the seventies were Bernstein (1964) by Gunnar and Garamond (1963) by Gabriel, and also very popular were the Hanoverian stallions from the Abglanz and Semper Idem lines, such as Argwohn and Artwig, Steinadler and Steinberg. § A foundation Trakehner stallion for the warmblood sport horse developed in the Rhineland is Abendregen by Altan, and successors like Rheingold by Romadour II/ Abendregen, the Gunnar son Bernstein, who had great influence as a valuable mare producer and who furnished several highly placed daughters for the show ring, the black Trakehner stallion Borusse by Boris, who had a wonderful reputation for producing very trainable, robust sport horses with great jumping talent, Garamond, sire of the approved sons, Gardist and Gasparone, both out of Rhineland mares and who is also responsible for a number of state premium mares and riding horses characterized by a will to please. Last but not least, there is the Trakehner Hartung by Ilmengrund, whose foals are known for their unusual jumping talent. One line that is very common in Rhineland horses is Patron by Tranzyt. A Rhineland graded Trakehner stallion in the US is the bay Pikör by Donauwind out of an Altan mare, standing at Freisinger Warmbluts in Lacrosse Wisconsin.


A decrease in agriculture work and a decrease in the demand for carriage horses together with an increasing demand for good riding horses, promoted the introduction of Trakehner stallions in the Holsteiner breed. To fulfill the demand the Trakehner Gondolier by Sporn was given a try in 1954 and 1955 at the breeding stations of Siethwende and Neuendorf. The resulting foals were found more than satisfactory. In 1954, the state stud administrator of the Holstein state breeding farm at Traventhal, Dr. Grote, bought the stallion Herrscher by the Trakehner Heristal. Herrscher's name marked the Holsteiner history books as a producer of future breeding stallions. By 1960, nine sons of Herrscher were listed in the certification catalog. At the 1961 stallion sale at Elmshorn, 15 of the 33 stallions shown were sons or grandsons of Trakehners. Nine of them were sired by the Trakehner Polarfürst (1955) by Totilas. In the early sixties the Holsteiner Verband changed the rules, allowing Trakehner stallions only to be used with the permission of the Verband. As a result the Holsteiner stallions Gotthard by Gondolier, Sterling by Sterndeuter, Heribert, Heron, and Hermin by Herrscher, Port and Porter by Polarfürst were sold. Port and Porter went to Holland where they were graded as KWPN and were very succesful. Herrscher himself was sold to Bavaria. A Holsteiner sport horse with Trakehner blood that should not be forgotten is the mare Baronin by Donauwind, one of the top money winning show jumpers of southern Germany in the seventies. § Described as the third most popular breed in Germany, the Württemberg was transformed through the sixties from a medium-weight, short legged horse of cobby appearance, into a powerful and elegant performance horse through the use of Trakehner blood. The foundation sire for the Württemberg sport horses is the Trakehner sire Julmond (1938), by Julianus, a beautiful flaxen chestnut, who stood as chief sire at the state stud of Marbach, from 1961 until his death in 1965. Chief State Stud Director Dr. Wenzler said of him "At the advanced age of 20 years, he established a basis for a comet like rise. It seems like fate that this stallion was given to us at a time of change which categorically demanded new developments in the breed. He became the regenerator of the Württemberg warmblood breed, the 'second Faust'... Julmond was a horse personality of a high degree because of his cleverness, his affection, his extremely decent character, and also because of his fire and the genuineness of his being. He was a daily pleasure for us." In all, Julmond left more than 30 approved sons, including Ikarus, Taifun, Lothar, Jakod, Junker, Jurist and Jugol. Also influential at Marbach were the Trakehner stallions Pregel (1958), by Tropenwald, who in the 5 years he spent at Marbach, gave the breed Prunk, Präses, Prüfer, Pikeur and Pluto; Schabernack (1962), by Schöner Abend, sire of the Württemberg stallions Schacht, Schalter, Schanzer, Schaschlik, Schierling, Schilf, Schlosser, Schulrat and Schulz; and Kastor, by Pergamos, sire of Karolus, Kalman, Katarakt, Kerbel, Kern, Konsul, Karneval, Kerner, Kalauer and Kumpel. Marbach continues to use Trakehner blood, standing the Mahagoni grandsons Amelio (1989), by Kronenkranich xx and Assistent (1992), by Kornett II. In total one-third of its sires trace back to the Trakehner breed.


Finally amongst the German breeds in Bavaria, the greatest building block for the Bavarian warmblood was the Trakehner stallion Maharadscha (1947) by Famulus, who stood his entire life at Schwaighof in Bavaria. Maharadscha's offspring are known as producers of a large number of excellent broodmares and highly priced riding horses for all disciplines. Also the Trakehners Komet (1952) by Goldregen and Kassio (1963) by Abglanz are particularly highly valued for use on Bavarian mares. Other important stallions worth mentioning are the Trakehners Kassius by Impuls, Santiago by Wie Ibikus and Flaneur's full brother, Mahdi, by Maharadscha. § The Netherlands had Marco Polo (1962) by Poet xx out of Mirakel by Altan as an outstanding sire of sport horses, especially show jumpers, when bred to the rather solid old-fashioned mares. Marco Polo's blood was very highly prized. Marco Polo not only produced good competition horses, but he also sired some sons who themselves became graded in the Netherlands. Examples are Legaat, Adios and Irco Polo, all of whom, like his competition horses, were out of native Dutch mares with little or no Trakehner blood. Marco Polo's blood also continues through another important Trakehner stallion used in the Netherlands, Mozart, by Gunnar out of Miranda III by Impuls, who is out of Mirabel, a daughter of Marco Polo's dam, Mirakel. A purebred Trakehner Mozart son, now standing in Walnut Creek, California, is the outstanding German Import Kaspareit, a strong representative of the proven Impuls/Ibikus cross. Also worth mentioning in the Netherlands is the accomplished producer of dressage horses, Doruto by Komet. § Over the last twenty five years, Denmark became the home of a number of famous Trakehner stallions because of their value as improvers. Unforgettable are the brown Donauwind (1965) by Pregel and the bay Ibikus (1967) by Hertilas. Donauwind, a hit from the start in Germany with 6 approved sons from his very first foal crop and made further famous by his American son, the Olympic Silver Medalist Abdullah, is best known in Denmark for his daughter Diana. Diana, out of Desiree DS by Atlantic (a Hanoverian son of Abglanz) obtained great success as she became the first ever gold-medal mare in Denmark and produced two graded sons, Domino by Luxemburg (Han.) and the black British Elite stallion Diamond by Allegro (Han.). The Danish registered Atlantic son, Alaska, an advanced dressage and show jumping stallion was granted a permanent breeding license based on the exceptional quality of his foals, and was eventually purchased by Hollow Hill Stables in York, PA. Ibikus sired 3 Danish graded sons, Kawango (1978), Ibi-Bell (1978) and Midt West Ibi Light (1985), as well as several high quality daughters, including Vigga RDH, dam of the Elite Grand Prix Stallion, Rambo. Other Trakehners used with good success in Denmark include Gunnar, sire of Galanthus; E.H. Arogno (1976), by Flaneur, sire of Argonjo; E.H. Erlkönig (1972), by Schwalbenflug, sire of the Danish Balzac; Schwadroneur (1983), by E.H. Arogno, sire of Calzone and Maneur; and the Premium stallion, Märchenprinz (1983), by Ecuador xx, sire of Mirage and Santo.


Nowhere, except perhaps in Hanover, has the Trakehner been used with as much success as it has in Sweden. The Swedish Warmblood will forever be linked to the Trakehner through the stallion Humanist (1916) by Tautropfen. Humanist is the paternal grandsire of two of the most important stallions to ever stand at Flyinge: the bay Drabant (1946) by Kokard out of Russi by Haffner (by the Trakehner stallion Sonnensanger) and the chestnut Gaspari (1949) by Parad out of Tomona by Pergamon (by Humanist). The influence of these two horses can not be over stated, with more than 50+ members in their combined sire lines, including the likes of Piaff, by Gaspari, a Gold Medalist at the 1972 Olympics; Imperator, by Gaspari, Swedish Showjumping Champion; Herkules, by Gaspari, a member of the 1988 Swedish Olympic team; Urbino, by Drabant, sire of the late blooming Olympic Bronze Medalist, Flamingo; Juvel, by Flamingo, Silver Medalist at the 1991 Pan Am Games; and the two stallion producers Brabant and Vagabond, both by Drabant. Gaspari's sire line is represented in the US by his son Garrant, stationed in California; his grandsons Kronprinz by Guldgossen; Reipo by Emir; Gaspe' & Raswan, both by Herkules; and Entheos & Pommery, both by Elektron; as well as by his great-grandson, the well known Johanniter by Jaguar. Drabant's line continues in the US via his grandsons Pehrsson by Urbino and Brando by Brabant, and his great-grandsons, Flamenco, Flaminko, & Juvel, all by Flamingo; Galapard by Leopard and Legacy by Calaghan Also influential in Sweden are Kampfgeist (whose daughter Kornau is maternal granddam of the striking dark bay stallion Absolut), the Hanoverian Abglanz grandson Achat, and Hartung. § With the ever increasing interest in Dressage and with talented Trakehner stallions such as E.H. Caprimond (1985) by Karon (licensed for breeding to Hanoverians, Oldenburgs, Württembergs, Bayerns, Hessens, Sachsen-Anhalts, Swedish and Swiss Warmbloods); E.H. Hohenstein (1991) by Caprimond, (licensed for Hanoverians, Oldenburgs, Sachsen-Anhalts, Swedish and Swiss Warmbloods); Münchhausen (1995) by Hohenstein, (licensed for Hanoverians, Rheinlanders, Westfalens and Oldenburgs); Monteverdi (1996) by Partout, (licensed for Rheinlanders, Westfalens, Oldenburgs and Hanoverians); and Latimer (1996) by Saint Cloud (licensed for Hanoverians, Oldenburgs, Westfalens, Rheinlanders and Sachsen-Anhalts); currently at stud, the Trakehner's influence will be felt for generations to come.


The Teutonic Knights discovered the native Schwaikerpferd in the 13th century during their crusades. It was a small primitive horse. The knights bred them for the military. The Ostsiedlung (east settlement) farmers used it later for light utility work.

King Friedrich William I of Prussia started the main stud Trakeher in 1732 in Trakehnen in East Prussia (now Yasnaya Polyana, Russia). The forest was cleared between the river Pissa and Stallupoenen and Gumbinnen. The king gave in 1739 the stud to crown prince Friedrich of Prussia who sold stallions to get money. When he died in 1786 it became a state property and was named Koeniglich Preussisches Hauptgestuet (royal prussian main stud) Trakehnen.

1817-1837 Arabian, Thoroughbred and Turkish blood was added to the stud. A Thoroughbred Perfectionist, by Persimmon won the Epson Derby and St Leger in 1896. He sired the great Trakehner stallion Tempelhueter and most of today's Trakehner can be traced back. Arabian blood was introduced to off-set flaws of Thoroughbred.

East Prussen farmers brought their mares, known for their hardness, to Trakehner stallions. Trakehner developed into a much sought after army remounts; sure footed, intelligent and athletic. 1918 they bred 60,000 mares each year.

After the Treaty of Versailles, the breed was again changed to produce farm horses. Trakehner were interbred with Ararad, Dampfross, Hyperion, Pythagoras and Tempelhueter. The stallions posses much substance and bones, yet are refined.

In the 1920 and 1930 you could see the Trakehners' real performance. They won gold and silver in two Olympics and won nine times the Czechoslovakia's notorious challenging steeplechase.

In the 1930 you could count 10,000 breeders and 18,000 registered mares.

The estate of Trakehnen covered a 6033 ha which included 3845 ha field, 2427 ha meadows, 175 ha forest, 73 ha garden, 351 ha others.

Trakehner were used in World War II and when the Russians appeared causing flight and expulsion which nearly destroyed the breed. The main stud and people were allowed to evacuate on 17 October 1944. Their journey to the West sent the horses on a dangerous journey which made them frigid. They had to cross the frozen VISTULA LAGOON with not enough food and no shelter. While on the ice they were bombed and therefore only a small number of horses made it.

The horses which were left behind were bred into Kirov - Mazury - Pozan and then into Wielkoposki.

After the war from the tenth of thousands of horses 600 broodmare and 50 stallions were left.

The last original Trakehner KEITH born there in 1944 died in November 1976 in Gilten. He was 35 years old.