Name of breed: Holsteiner
Country of origin: Germany
Breed origin: The Holsteiner horse breed originated in the Schleswig-Holstein region of northern Germany, with its windswept coastal marshes and rich, wet soil that could dry out and turn concrete-like in a matter of hours. It is thought to be the oldest of warmblood breeds, tracing back to the 13th century where they were used in agriculture as well as coach horses, while occasionally used for riding.
Distinguishing features: As a breed, the Holsteiner is known for it’s arched, rather high-set neck and powerful hindquarters. The heavy neck was perpetuated even in modern Holsteiners with the help of the stallion ‘Ladykiller xx’ and his son ‘Landgraf’. In past centuries, Holsteiners retained the hallmark Roman nose of the Baroque horse, but today you’ll find them with a smaller head with large, intelligent eyes. These conformational characteristics give most Holsteiners good balance and elegant movement.
Most Holsteiners have a round, generous and elastic stride with impulsion from the haunches and natural balance. Their scope and power was inherited from the heavier old Holsteiners, but they lacked carefulness, speed, adjustability, bascule, and technique when jumping. Improvement sires like “Cor de la Bryére“ successively eliminated these flaws, making the Holsteiner internationally known for Olympic-caliber show jumping.
The traditional coat colours of Holsteiners are usually dark with minimal markings but this tendency has evolved into a preference for black, dark bay, and brown although lighter shades such as chestnuts and grays are also found.
Modern day Holsteiner: Though the population is not large, Holsteiners are a dominant force on the international show jumping circuit, and are found at the top levels of dressage, combined driving, show hunting and eventing.
Image Credit: Stallion AI Services