The Holstein Horse
The oldest of all the German Warm Blood horses is probably the Holstein horse. From as early as the seventeenth
century, the horses bred in Germany were as in as much demand as the horses bred in France, Denmark and Italy.
The old Holstein horses contained German, Neapolitan, Spanish and oriental blood. As the nineteenth century came
among, the Holstein horses were crossed with the Yorkshire Coach Horses. This crossing gave the breed a high knee
action, great presence and a very tractable nature. The Holstein horses soon became renowned for being tough,
handsome carriage horses and good army remounts.
The Traventhall Stud was founded by the Prussians in 1867 in Schleswig-Holstein and is considered to be the
modern birthplace of the Holstein horse. Sadly, this stud is no longer in operation and the main base of Holstein
horse breeding is at the stud of Elmshorn. Some Thoroughbred blood was used in the period after World War II to
make the Holstein horse more suited to the modern requirements of a horse. This resulted in the horses have a
less high action and better shoulders.
Despite the infusions of the Thoroughbred blood making the Holstein horse more excitable than it was before, it
mainly retained its good temperament. The intelligence and boldness of the breed have turned it into a top-class
show jumper and dressage horse. Unlike most other breeds of Warm Blood horses, the Holstein horse is not bred in
such a large quantity, and nor is its breeding area very large. Therefore, there is less variation in the overall
type. The Holstein horse stands from 16 to 17 hands and comes in all solid colours, though bay, brown, chestnut
and grey are the most common.