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by the Soviet army. At one point, the troops had them surrounded at the frozen Baltic Sea. Their only route of escape was to cross the frozen sea. It was a desperate and extremely dangerous move, and sadly many people and horses were lost in that freezing water. Fewer than 100 horses made it to West Germany. By the time World War II ended, only a few hundred Trakehners from the original 80,000 in East Prussia remained to rebuild the breed.


WHY ADD OUTSIDE BLOOD? The Arabian is one of the oldest pure breeds and has had a hand in the development of many breeds of horses. It is most famous for the foundation of the English Thoroughbred. In turn, both Thoroughbreds and Arabians were used in the original development of many German Warmblood breeds because of their positive breed characteristics. The Arabian has endurance, strong health and hardiness, a good natural temperament and a long, elegant appearance. Eventually the Thoroughbred was preferred over the Arabian because they developed better gaits and conformation more suitable for high performance. The Thoroughbred contributed important characteristics such as galloping aptitude and speed as well as the longer, rectangular body frame. According to Dr. Eberhard von


Velsen in his article “Thoughts about the Influence of Thoroughbred Stallions and Mares in Germany’s Oldest Riding Horse Breed” (from the Sept./Oct. 1981 issue of Trakehner HefteII, translated by Helen Gibble), from 1800 to 1860, amongst all Trakehner breeding stallions at the time, 68 (18%) were English Thoroughbred stallions and 27 (7%) were Arabian stallions. In 1920, 61% of the entire Trakehner broodmare herd was Thoroughbred offspring which resulted in a “refined, noble horse, which in type and frame was hardly distinguishable from a Thoroughbred.” Studies in the early 1900s showed that the addition of Thoroughbred blood resulted in:


• Reduction of bone • Reduction of depth of girth • Reduction of girth circumference • An influence on size which in stallions was always reduced and in mares was almost always reduced • Reduction in body weight


After World War I, the lighter horse was no longer in demand so the influence of the Thoroughbred


38 January/February 2011


declined. Instead, breeders gravitated towards producing a heavier, stronger pulling horse and suitable riding horse. While breeders still appreciated the nerve, nobility and athleticism of the Thoroughbred, they did not want the temperament faults typically associated with them. Since that time and still today, the Thoroughbred and Arabian blood are infused only in small doses, and the stallions have to pass the same strict standards and prove performance ability before being approved by the ATA.


TODAY’S INFLUENCE Currently the percentage of Thoroughbred and Arabian blood in the Trakehner is quite low. Many breeders want the influence far back in the pedigree rather than near the top. The ATA is very selective about which horses are included and understandably so. “We want performance sport horses,” says Helen Gibble, a retired Trakehner breeder and current member of the ATA Board of Directors. She admits that there is a general reluctance to use Thoroughbreds and Arabians in Trakehner breeding programs, but, she adds, “in order to maintain the breed as it always has been we need to continue doing that to a certain extent.” Yet on the other hand, the ATA is careful not to dilute the purebred Trakehner very much. Currently in the ATA’s Official


Al-Marah Quebec, an Arabian stallion approved by the ATA. Photo by Jerry Sparagowski


Stud Book (OSB) there are no Thoroughbred stallions and only two purebred Arabian stallions. The first


is Al-Marah Quebec, owned by noted Arabian breeder Bazy Tankersly of Tuscon, Arizona. Al-Marah Quebec is the first U.S. Arabian stallion accepted into the ATA. At the time the inspector said that the stallion was “balanced and harmonious, had a good depth at the girth, tracked up well, covered ground, maintained good trot rhythm with good use of hocks and knees, was willing and athletic, and had an excellent temperament and manner exhibiting good rideability.” Al-Marah Quebec is a proven performance stallion boasting credentials such as the lead performance horse in the Arabian Nights Dinner attraction, U.S. Reserve National Champion at 4th level in dressage and performs 3rd level dressage without a bridle. The second purebred Arabian in the OSB is Aul Magic


who unfortunately passed away in October 2010. He was owned by Betsy Teeter of Legendary Arabians in Sanger, California. He was the U.S. Reserve National Champion at both first and second level dressage as well as USDF Horse of the Year for Arabians in dressage.


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