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The Holstein horse

The Holstein horse

At the beginning of the 21st century, Holstein horse breeding is at its peak. Horses with the Holstein brand shine on the world's great show grounds, the Holstein genes permeate all of today's successful show jumping breeds. This is the result of centuries of consistent breeding work in the land between the seas, by breeders with intuition, foresight, perseverance and loyalty to the dam lines even in difficult times. In the course of history, the Holsteiner has always faced new challenges, as a state horse at the European royal courts, as a war horse, as a luxury carrossier, but above all as a helper in agriculture and finally today as a sport horse, especially in the discipline of jumping. The Holsteiner has often changed its garb, but has never lost its face - hardly any riding horse breed has remained as true to its type as the Holsteiner, whose outer appearance and inner values have been shaped by the hard life on the windswept marsh pastures and by the daily performance tests on the farms.

The Holstein horse breeding is the most northern German stud book. The actual high breeding area is located on the coast of the North Sea, about 100 kilometers north of Hamburg. However, the area of influence extends over the entire federal state of Schleswig-Holstein and the city-state of Hamburg. The Holsteiner is a large-lined horse. On the strong neck sits an expressive head. The shoulders and chest are also strong. The withers are pronounced, the rump compact and well arched. Further breed-typical characteristics are a medium-long back, slender, hard legs with short tubes.

The typical Holsteiner is an athletic, large-lined and expressive riding horse with ideal dispositions for show jumping, but also for dressage and eventing. He has above average jumping ability. A Holsteiner is uncomplicated, enthusiastic, strong nerved and reliable. His well-balanced temperament and excellent character are of great importance. The Holstein sport horse has excellent jumping ability, a long walk, a ground covering trot and a lively canter.

The 50s did not yet know a uniform recipe with regard to the stallion line-up. One finds Trakehner and other Anglo-Arabs next to Thoroughbreds, both English and some Arabian, and Hanoverians. A radical restriction of the approvals saved the breed again. Only the English Thoroughbred was used for breeding, with very few exceptions. Under this influence the model of the Holsteiner changed and a draconian selection at the same time preserved the character. The model became considerably lighter, the frame smaller, the head nobler ; the back lengthened and the withers more prominent. The horses became more lively, more elegant and also showed more " bite ". The success of this re-breeding is due to a few particularly good stallions, but also, although to a much lesser extent, to the large number of thoroughbreds used. The common point of almost all thoroughbred stallions is their pedigree, which mostly goes back to Dark Ronald and his son Son in Law, who are important thoroughbreds for the Holstein breed.

The re-breeding proved to be vital, as the mare base of the Holsteiner had dropped from formerly almost 10,000 to barely 1,200 at the beginning of the 1960s. This massive use of thoroughbreds with ultimately positive results, unique in the history of German horse breeding, brought harsh criticism to the Holstein breeding management, which was organized as an association in 1960, as it went hand in hand with the exclusion of all foreign blood, whereas the other breeding areas, which worked under similar conditions, turned to the Hanoverian, as was the case in Oldenburg, or went under completely through the use of the Arabian, as happened to the East Frisian Warmblood.

The important stallions of this era were first of all Anblick xx, the first thoroughbred that breeders trusted, but also Cottage Son xx, Wüstensohn xx, Wanderfalk xx and Waldenser xx, as well as the Anglo-Arabian Ramzes AA.

The 60's then already partly initiated the consolidation of the type, since some good stallions with the already refined mares brought the performance sires, who were to influence the end of the whole 20th century. But there were still many mares that were a perfect match for easily sired stallions. And the breeding management made some lucky moves with the purchase of Marlon xx and Ladykiller xx. These two top sires are still influencing the breeding program today. Marlon suited the heavy mares, Ladykiller brought his best products with already refined mares. Other good stallions were Frivol xx, Korenbleem xx, Manometer xx, Nautilus xx and Sable Skinflint xx.

The 1971 line-up of the Anglonormann Cor de la Bryere illustrates the consolidation phase. This Rantzau son was the first big and successful exception in the breeding concept of the Holsteiner. He still carries a lot of blood himself, but harmonizes very well with already nobler mares and consolidates the new type. Cor de la Bryere together with Ladykiller ( 1979) and Marlon ( 1981) dominated the breeding scene of the 70's and 80's, whereby Ladykiller xx was already supported by his sons, above all Landgraf I and Lord.

The foundation stallions of the Holstein horse breed

Ramzes AA was a Polish Anglo-Arabian with 50% Arabian blood. He can point to successful relatives, as the most successful Polish jumper before WW2 belongs to his family. Ramzes, leased twice for one breeding season each, stands out in Holstein for his jumping heritage. He did not make a strong impact in breeding himself, as he harmonized best with already noble mares, as the example of his grandson Ramiro shows, and these were still very rare in his time. His stallion line still exists only through Ramiro, who, however, plays an outstanding role for the whole European breeding. With him the Anglo-Arabian influence is already strongly weakened in favour of the thoroughbred, which is already documented purely externally by the colour: Ramzes AA was, exactly like Ramiro's father Raimond, a grey stallion. Cottage Son xx, Ramiro's 2nd grandfather was black bay, just like Ramiro himself.

sight xxlicensed in 1954 after ten years of unsuccessful work in the Hanoverian, was to become the first successful Holstein thoroughbred stallion. However, at first only the 2nd and even 3rd set were given to him, the best mares came to proven Holstein stallions. But even with these only average mares, Anblick produced excellent horses that embodied the new desired type. So one can speak of success only towards the end of the 50s.

His best son is Aldato, who had great influence and still does today through his grandson Landgraf. Both Aldato and Anblick xx inherited more at the dressage level, but did not displace the jumping facility.

The example of sight illustrates the impact of the first thoroughbreds : even if they could not found a great stallion line, their blood is nevertheless firmly anchored in the mare lines.

Cottage Son xx was a black and bay thoroughbred stallion who was purchased due to the success of the thoroughbreds in Holstein. He was already no longer a blank slate, as several of his English offspring went on to compete in international eventing competitions.

For Holstein, the 4 breeding seasons he spent here until his death in 1963 were the most important ones ever. Cottage Son did not only fit very well to the Holstein mares, he also prepared the basis for Cor de la Bryere, for whom he represents the best mating.

His stallion line has experienced an undreamt-of expansion through Capitol I and is now one of the most established.

Generally speaking, Cottage Son is very well anchored in the mare lines and his genetic makeup comes into its own best when he is in the 3rd or 4th generation.

For the inspection Pressure gauge's xx was certainly influenced by the fact that his sire, Abendfrieden xx, was a full brother to Anblick and that another son of his sire had already been quite successful in breeding, but dropped out after only one year, Gauner xx. Beyond the Holsteins, Abendfrieden has also produced good stallions for the Hanoverian and its offspring, especially Persian and Pik As.

Despite strong conformation deficiencies, his offspring have a good jumping ability. Over the years, however, offspring could distinguish themselves as dressage stallions and sires.

His strength lies in the inheritance through his female offspring. Especially in demand are mares of his sons and grandsons, to whom he has passed on his dam-sire qualities. His stallion line is only represented through the offspring of his grandson Moltke. It is one of the small lines within the Holstein breed.

Marlon xx was an Irish thoroughbred stallion, who fitted very well to the heavy mares, which he refined and also gave the necessary cut. With nobler mares his offspring became too small and light. His hereditary focus is clearly on dressage, but his jumping ability is also above average. Unfortunately, none of his sons have been able to excel in breeding and his line seems to be dying out. Marlon daughters are excellent broodmares and can be bred to almost any stallion, although warmbloods suit them better than Thoroughbreds; Marlon daughters are often a bit 'bitchy', but Marlon will continue to influence them for years to come, even if his sons have already disappeared from the breeding scene.

Marlon xx was the best dressage sire ever put up by the German breeders, even relegating Cardinal xx from the Hanoverian breed to 2nd place.

In terms of its importance Ladykiller xx the thoroughbred with the greatest importance. Among his many good sons, Landgraf I and Lord are of course particularly striking and are among the star sires of the breeders' association. Both come from already refined mares, which formed the ideal mating for Ladykiller.

His hereditary focus was especially in jumping, dressage horses are rare. Nevertheless, two sons were able to set themselves in the light as sires in this discipline as well.

As a dam sire he does not yet reach the importance he has as a stallion sire, but he now appears quite often as the sire of the 2nd dam. However, in general the quality of his daughters is not inferior to that of his sons.

His stallion line is the most branched of the modern Holstein breed. His male offspring are in demand all over the world and thus carry his influence as far as South America.

At the moment the question is which stallion could compensate for the loss of Landgraf and Lord, as unfortunately no son of these stallions has yet been able to distinguish himself to such an extent that he could be considered their successor.

After the Oldenburg purchase of the Furioso xx son Vertuoso, renamed Furioso II in Germany, proved to be a resounding success, Holstein began to look for a stallion from the same line, since the breeding situation in Oldenburg could certainly be compared with that in Holstein. During a trip to France, the decision was made to purchase a Rantzau xx son with Furioso as his great-grandsire. The purchase Cor de la Bryere's was quite a problem for the breeders, because he came from the "hereditary enemy". Only the quality of his offspring brought him the recognition he deserved. His importance probably exceeds that of Ladykiller, as it was only under his influence that the Holsteiner became the sport horse we know today.

The importance of Cor de la Bryere is equally strong in the mare lines and the stallion lines. Some of his sons have themselves already further branched the line of the sire and his daughters harmonize with all the stallions of the breed. Unfortunately, many have been lost to the breed for their rideability and jumping ability.

His performance is dominated by jumping, there are less dressage sires, although a European Champion, Corlandus, has Corde as his sire. Only Calypso I, Coriander and his sire Coriolan have a significant influence in this discipline.

After these excellent experiences with an SF stallion, the association licensed another Selle Français, Silver Lake, who has a similar combination to Corde, but in different bloodstreams. Just like Corde, Hozeville, Silver Lake's French. Name, is a full blood son, even if his father did not make a name for himself. However, his dam is a daughter of the outstanding dam's sire Quastor from the Orange Peel xx line. Furthermore, Quastor is a three-quarter brother to Almé, as his maternal grandmother is Almé's mother. The future proved the Verband right, as Silbersee has an outstanding pedigree, having been an international class show jumper and multiple Derbus winner. In breeding Silbersee could not yet compare to Corde. His stallion line is significantly smaller, moreover his best son, Silvester, who had a certain influence on Holstein breeding, died in the 1993 season. Many Silbersee daughters have been lost to breeding in favour of sport.

For some years now, the Almé descendants more and more into the light. Three sons of the SF exceptional stallion Almé were or are stationed in Holstein, but only one is of Holstein blood : Ahorn. The other two come from matings to Hanoverian mares. Alcatraz, by Aloube-Almé, is particularly striking among them. As Aldato also appears in his pedigree, the performance heredity is not yet polarized and can tend towards dressage as well as jumping. On the breeding level this stallion, although not yet ten years old, has already made his mark.

The heredity of the Almé offspring is probably similar to that of their sire, who was a good stallion sire, but an even better sport horse sire. The daughters were also of above average quality. Almé far surpasses his sire, Ibrahim, in importance for SF breeding.

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