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Postwar Germany


Gerd Zuther was one of the last German horsemen living in the U.S. who experienced the changes that came immediately after World War II. He grew up on a farm in Lower Saxony in the 1940s and 50s. “In my town, I saw the first tractor in 1949. Until then, every-


thing was done with horses. After the war, Germany didn’t have machinery any more, and didn’t have the factories to build them.” He learned early to appreciate the value of horses. “When I


was a young boy in the early ’50s, I had to plow the harvest with a horse. When you deal with a big horse, 1500 lbs—I could barely look over the handles of the plow to balance it behind the horse. You needed a horse that was solid. The horses had to be obedi- ent or you were at a big disadvantage. No one likes to be run away with when plowing, or when sitting on a wagon pulled by horses. The horses had to have the character capable of working on the farm.” Gerd saw firsthand the changes in the Hanoverians becoming


only a riding horse. “All the breed associations did away with the agriculture part. Some breed associations had an easier job to do because their agricultural and military type horses were already closer to the ideal riding horse. The Hanoverians, over their historic area from the coastline to the middle moun- tains in Germany, had every type of horse. They could interbreed to create a lighter type of [riding horse] out of the heavier, more substantial horses bred with the smaller, lightweight horses.”


When Gerd was growing up, in addition to their training in riding and jumping, three-year-old Hanoverian state stallions were trained in pulling weight with a stone boat like this one. This is an example of a stone boat at the State Stud in Celle, Germany, pictured in 2005.


Warmbloods Today 57


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