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Height at the withers:
165 - 175 cm
elegant, very expressive head, long and strong neck, medium-long back, nicely sloped torso, strong legs, pronounced hindquarters, large, round hooves
Colour of coat:
all colours, except for dappled horses
intelligent, hardworking, with strong nerves, reliable, uncomplicated and well-balanced
expansive and spirited movements, sure-footed, high forehand skips
Europe, USA, breeding mainly in Schleswig-Holstein in Germany
carriage driving and riding, dressage
Did you know? The Holsteiner horse breed is the only warm-blooded breed that is not crossbred with Hanoverians or Trakehner horses. This is why these horses have remained a very own type to this day.
The Holsteiner horse breed is the oldest warm-blooded breed in Germany. It is also among German riding horses. The horses originating from Schleswig-Holstein were bred in a monastery in Uetersen already in the 14th century and used mainly for agricultural work. To be capable of performing hard work, Holsteiner horses had to be powerful and large. They also had to be sure-footed in order to handle the difficult terrain in the marsh areas around the Elbe River. It is these characteristics, combined with a gait marked by expansive movements that made the muscular animals popular carriage horses. In war times, they even played an important role in the military. During those times, the reliable horses served as farm animals. However, they also experienced the consequences of the technological advances in the 1950s. Back then, the demand for Holsteiner horses steadily dropped, and working horses were gradually replaced by machines. Instead, people started to use them as riding horses. The powerful horses were increasingly refined with English and other thoroughbreds. This turned the once heavy horse type into compact athletes.
Today, the typical Holsteiner horse is similar to a lightweight, warm-blooded horse. They have elegant heads and expressive eyes. Their neck is long and muscular and set high on the shoulders. Their legs are slender but extremely sturdy. Holsteiner horses have well developed hindquarters, which makes them perfectly suited for jumping. Their usually brown coat is rather short. However, you will also find Holsteiner horses in any other colour – with the exception of dappled horses. In addition to their athletic appearance, the beautiful horses also distinguish themselves by their character. Riders appreciate their uncomplicated and reliable nature. In addition, Holsteiner horses are known to be extraordinarily motivated and have strong nerves in unusual situations. However, some Holsteiner horses are more spirited than others. They should be guided by experienced riders.
Thanks to their athletic physique and their extraordinarily pleasant character, Holsteiner horses are ideal partners when it comes to various riding disciplines: They are suitable horses for jumping, dressage, eventing as well as classical vaulting. Their gait is spirited and even, especially the gallop. This is particularly important for vaulting, as the exercises can only be performed perfectly with a steady rhythm and a soft gallop. The talented warm-blooded horses key skill is jumping. The Holsteiner gelding “Meteor” is one of the most famous and successful jumping horses ever. In the 1950s and 1960s, he took part in numerous jumping tournaments with his rider Fritz Thiedemann and won 150 during his lifetime. Nowadays, other Holsteiner horses are also successful in jumping and winning Olympic medals.