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The Trakehner breed was originally developed at the East Prussian state stud farm in the town of Trakehnen, from which the breed takes its name. The state stud was established in 1731, and between 1817 and 1837, Arabian, Thoroughbred and Turkoman horses were crossed with the stud horses to further develop the Trakehner breed.

Rapid transformation of the breed created much sought-after army horses: sure-footed, intelligent and athletic. And unlike in other regions in Germany, the horse of Trakehnen was never intended as an agricultural animal: it was bred purely as an athlete.

To classify as a Trakehner, a horse had to have Trakehner, Arabian, Anglo-Arab or Thoroughbred parents. 

It was during the 1920s and 1930s that the breed was recognised for its performance abilities in competitive equestrian disciplines, with the ‘East Prussian warmblood’ as it was commonly referred to dominating on the racetrack, in the hunting field and at the Olympics. The Trakehner has been an increasingly popular sporthorse around the world, appearing regularly on the leaderboards for showjumping, dressage and eventing.

Due to its Thoroughbred and Arabian ancestry, the Trakehner has a rectangular build, with a long sloping shoulder, powerful hindquarters and a well-set neck. It is known for its ‘floating trot’, with excellent impulsion and suspension. The breed is athletic and easily trained, with impressive stamina and soundness. It is considered to be the lightest and most refined of the warmblood breeds, and in some cases the most spirited. The Trakehner stands between 15.2-17 hands high and can be almost any colour, although solid-coloured Trakehners form the vast majority.

While they compete in nearly all equestrian disciplines, Trakehners are particularly prized in the dressage arena due to their sensitivity, intelligence and wonderful movement. Trakehners also tend to do better in the sport of eventing than most other warmblood breeds due to their light build. As a distinctive, true-to-type sporthorse, the Trakehner is also frequently used to refine and improve other breeds.

References: The Horse Magazine, Trakehners International, Globe Trotting.

Photo: Pythagoras (1927) from Rimondo.

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