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n n n n n n n n n n n n The Breeding of Holsteiner Horses By Wendy Webster T

he area of Northern Germany known a Schleswig- Holstein is home to the central authority on Holsteiner breeding known as the Holsteiner

Verband. They govern all aspects of breeding, registering and the grading of foals, mares and stallions. The Verband maintains two offices in Holstein, a breeding office in the northern city of Kiel and a marketing center in the city of Elmshorn near Hamburg. Elmshorn’s facility also houses many of the stallions owned by the Verband. In the United States the American Holsteiner Horse

Association (AHHA) performs the function of maintaining the breed records, registering foals and organizing horse inspection tours. The AHHA rules are largely patterned after those of the Verband but the U.S. entity is not considered an arm of the German organization. The AHHA provides additional service to its members in the form of a glossy magazine published several times per year as well as a comprehensive stallion roster which provides members with detailed information on approximately 100 stallions that stand with the association each year. There is also a yearly stallion service auction, a foal futurity and an awards program for Holsteiners which compete in recognized competitions. The AHHA maintains a website at for additional details on these services. The Verband recognizes the need for some outcross genetics and periodically approves outstanding individuals from other breeds. Historically the Thoroughbred and the Selle Français have crossed well with Holsteiner mares (see the article in this issue, “Foundation Sires of the Modern Holsteiner”). The Holsteiner is still somewhat unique like the Trakehners in that as a rule they don’t allow cross breeding from other Warmblood breeds. There have only been a few experimental exceptions made in Germany.

n STALLIONS In order to produce registered offspring, a stallion must first be inspected for quality and receive a breeding permit. In Germany, three times each year stallions may be presented to the judging committee. The largest and most widely attended of these inspections is the November körung held in the city of Neumunster. Approximately ninety of the two and a half year-old Holsteiner colts are selected for inclusion in the körung from a foal crop of roughly 3,000 born each year. Over a period of three days the colts are scrutinized by a panel


of judges as they are presented outside moving over a hard surface as well as on the triangle and free jumping. At the end of the three day test roughly 30 colts receive a breeding permit. At the other stallion inspections held in January and April, older colts as well as select individuals from other breeds can be presented. Once the young stallion has his initial permit he must

still prove his talent in competitive sport under saddle. The stallion owners are allowed to choose between 30 or 70 day testing or private training and competing for Bundeschampionat qualification. In America, the AHHA holds annual inspection tours

with several sites devoted to stallion presentation. Stallions may be presented at two years of age and older. Stallions between ages two and five are required to be shown at liberty and also free-jumped. At this point the stallion is given a permit, and three years later, they are required to be shown under saddle in the flat and over jumps. Here again, any stallion receiving an initial breeding permit also needs to achieve some success in sport (as described by the AHHA rules) in order to receive his permanent breeding license. Historically the stallions have been evaluated by multiple judges at these sites often including members of the Verband stallion commission. It is the intent of the AHHA to follow the rigorous standards set by the Verband in evaluating gaits, conformation, temperament, pedigree and the all-important jumping ability so as to maintain consistent quality with the Holsteiners bred in Germany. Any Holsteiner stallion having been licensed in Germany can breed and produce registerable offspring for the AHHA whether through imported frozen semen or by the stallion relocating to North America where fresh semen is used.

n MARES In Holstein, regional mare inspections are held each spring and comprise primarily three year old mares but

American Holsteiner Horse Association

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