The Rus­sian Trakehner

Dressage Today - - Born to Perform -

Mis­ter X is re­ferred to as a Rus­sian Trakehner based on the fact that he is a Trakehner born in Rus­sia, and of the same ge­netic back­ground as Trakehner horses else­where. So how did a sep­a­rate Trakehner stud­book come about in Rus­sia? Prior to World War II, there was only one Trakehner stud­book, which ex­isted to pro­duce the most ver­sa­tile rid­ing horse at the time. Only horses born at the Main Stud Trakehnen in East Prus­sia, founded in 1732, were called Trakehn­ers—their blood-iden­ti­cal rel­a­tives that were born at the farms of pri­vate breed­ers in the East Prus­sian prov­ince were called East Prus­sian Warm­bloods.

Af­ter the Main Stud had to be evac­u­ated be­fore the ad­vanc­ing Red Army in the win­ter of 1944–45, a large num­ber of the best horses were loaded onto trains, but were even­tu­ally lost to the Rus­sians be­cause their trek ended just be­hind the Eastern lines in what would be­come the Ger­man Demo­cratic Repub­lic. Con­se­quently, some of the best breed­ing stock from Trakehnen landed in the Rus­sian Kirov stud, where a Trakehner herd was main­tained for decades, pro­duc­ing some of the best sport horses the breed has ever had. Look­ing at Mis­ter X’s pedi­gree, you can see that af­ter 1944 many of the reg­is­tered Ger­man Trakehn­ers sud­denly have their off­spring reg­is­tered as Rus­sian Trakehn­ers. To­day, Trakehn­ers are bred in many Rus­sian pro­grams and Mis­ter X is such an ex­am­ple. His ge­net­ics trace straight back to some of the best orig­i­nal Trakehner blood available af­ter 1945 and, there­fore, he shares blood­lines with other Trakehn­ers world­wide. —Dr. Maren En­gel­hardt

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