A Tale of Three Trakehners

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Halloween FHM

Renowned for its floating trot, the Trakehner is one of the lightest & most refined warmbloods. We are celebrating this breed as our March Breed of the Month on YourDressage! Join us all month long as we celebrate Trakehners with photo galleries and exclusive stories!

Dressage riders who choose Trakehners as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All Breeds Awards program – the American Trakehner Association and the Trakehner Association of North America (TANA) are both participating organizations.

We recently asked our social media followers to share stories about what makes these horses so special.  Here, an adult amateur in Region 8 shares how her three fabulous ambassadors for the Trakehner breed are a testament to 300 years of selective breeding.

by Dr. Leslie A. McCulloch

This is a tale of three Trakehners. All mine, all related, and all fabulous! Yet before their tale begins, it may be helpful to introduce the breed and the writer.

The Trakehner horse (one of the earliest riding horses known) originated in East Prussia in attempts to produce an athletic, level-headed, hardy, refined, beautiful military mount with great endurance. The Trakehnen Royal Stud was established by King Wilhelm I in 1732. Trakehner horses excelled in competitions, despite the fact that the world wars took a toll on the breed. WWII reduced the breed from 80,000 to a few hundred. [See The Trakehner Horse – A History by Patricia L. Goodman] Trakehner horses have continued to excel, if not dominate, international dressage, show jumping, and eventing competitions, including modern Olympics and World Cups. No doubt this is owed to the continued focus on breeding athleticism, hardiness, level-headedness, beauty, and endurance in the Trakehner horse.

As for this writer, the important thing to keep in mind is that I am an older adult amateur (vintage, as we are now called 😊) with four decades of competitive riding experience. I own three Trakehner horses, and I believe my show ring success is due to choosing athletic, hardy, level-headed, beautiful, and enduring horses on which to compete.

Trakehner #1: Finale W *Pb* is a 1998 gelding by the multiple Grand Prix, World Cup, Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, and show jumping Hall of Fame Trakehner stallion “Abdullah *Pg*E*!  Whew and wow! I purchased Finale as a 5-year-old from Sue and Terry Williams in 2003. He was six months under saddle at the time, and a dream to ride. But what is particularly significant is that, as a vintage amateur, I took this Trakehner horse to hunter shows by myself, and won. And I believe that was due to what he is: a Trakehner. An athletic, hardy, level-headed, and beautiful Trakehner full of endurance. After earning scores of hunter championships and 16 season-end awards, Finale earned his Performance Bronze designation from the American Trakehner Association in 2018, at age 20. Never a lame day in his life, my happy and hardy Trakehner gelding “Finale W *Pb* will ride his first USDF recognized dressage tests this year at 24 years of age. He is a testament to 300 years of selectively breeding athleticism, hardy, level-headed, and beautiful Trakehner horses.

Finale W

Trakehner #2: Harmony GS is a 1999 Trakehner mare bred by Gerhard Schickedanz and Galten Farms. I had the great fortune to purchase her from her first owner, who had shown her to Second Level in dressage. Aside from her lovely conformation, movement, and training, Harmony GS was a perfect line breeding to Trakehner stallion Abdullah *Pg*E*. So, while I transitioned from hunters to dressage, I bred Harmony GS to Abdullah. Harmony produced a beautiful bay colt in 2011. This breeding opened up a whole new world of USDF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding shows! This rocked my world! Over the next few years, Harmony GS won eight USDF DSHB Year-End Awards, and her colt gathered another ten! And if that wasn’t enough, in 2021 she took me to my first USDF performance shows. She is on the cusp of earning her USDF First Level certificate, and the USDF First Level Rider Performance Award and USDF Masters Challenge Award for me this year. Her continued showring and breeding success is a testament to 300 years of selective Trakehner breeding.

Harmony GS

Trakehner #3: Halloween FHM is a 2011 Trakehner stallion by the great Olympic, World Cup, and Grand Prix winner Abdullah *Pg*E* out of my own Harmony GS. As a vintage adult amateur I bred, broke, trained, and have shown Halloween FHM at numerous USDF DSHB Breed shows. He has earned ten USDF DSHB Year-End awards. While a frisky youngster in the breed ring, he was easy to break and ride, and continues to be a sweet and easily managed stallion. His uphill gaits are delightful, and I am excited to eventually show him in the performance dressage ring. Halloween FHM is, as are all my Trakehners, a testament to 300 years of Trakehner breeding.

Halloween FHM

So what is the moral to this tale of three Trakehners? Is it that if this vintage amateur can do all this on her own, there is something exceptional, and easy, and consistent, and desirable about Trakehners? Well, I do think so! 😊 But if a few more examples are what one desires consider these:  Apache, Peron, Biotop, Partout, Kronos, Gribaldi, Kostolony, Blue Hors Matinee, Windfall II, TSF Dalera BB, Totilas, Abdullah, Beatos, Nurmi, Axis, Hailo, Finckenstein, Mister X, Kipling, Caprimond, Fabian, Habicht, Isselhooks First Sight ISF, Martini, Lord Luciano, Hibiscus…. there are hundreds more!

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