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22 March 2019   
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In 1732 King Friedrich William 1 founded the Stud of Trakehner, here the East Prussian horse was developed. Prussia is now part of Poland. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Arab blood was introduced to the local breed, but later more and more thoroughbred blood was introduced. The local breed dates back to the early thirteenth century when the 'Schweiken' a little horse, was brought to the area by the Teutonic knights. The Schweiken was a descendant of the Konik pony from the primitive Tarpan.

The Trakehner was developed by a selective breeding programme, severe steps were taken to weed out inferior stock from the Royal Stud and use only the best horses to improve the breed. The results were the fairly quick development of a stunning horse possessing quality and stamina. The breed flourished as a carriage and an army remount until World War 11, when they suffered huge losses. Desperate efforts were made to evacuate the horses before the arrival of the Russian troops but unfortunately few horses, many were mares with foals at foot, survived the horrendous 900 mile journey across Europe. Before the journey there were over 25,000 horses registered in the East Prussian stud book, after the journey there were only 1,200 horses remaining and even more perished in the appalling conditions of post war Germany.

The few surviving evacuees were tracked down and registered in West Germany by the enormously dedicated efforts of the keepers of the original stud book. Breeding of the Trakehner resumed and thankfully, it has survived to become a highly valued modern day performance horse. The average height is 16 - 16. 2h.h. and any solid colour is permissible. The Trakehner has good conformation and is closer to the thoroughbred than any other Warmblood. It has a refined head with large eyes, alert well shaped ears and a small muzzle; a long elegant, tapering neck; good sloping shoulders with a high wither; a deep girth, medium length body, well ribbed up; round hindquarters with a well set tail; hard longish limbs with short cannons and extremely good sound feet.

The breed has extreme powers of endurance, probably due to the harsh times during World War 11 when it literally was 'only the survival of the fittest'. It has the courage and stamina of the thoroughbred and it is well suited to equestrian sport. It has excelled in harness and under saddle and competed and won at top level in carriage driving, three-day eventing and show jumping. The Trakehner has been used to upgrade and improve other warm bloods. A fine example is the show jumper Abdullah who was foaled in 1970 and in 1984 won a gold in the team Olympic Games and in 1985 was a World Cup winner, his frozen semen has been used in many countries even after his retirement.

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