Ludger Beerbaum and Ratina Z
The Holsteiner horse is a type of German Warmblood so named because they were and still are, bred in the region of Holstein in Germany. They date back to as far as 450 AD when the Holsteiners were used as a type of German Marsh horse similar to a heavy draft. In the 1600 and 1700's Holsteiners were used around Europe as Cavalry mounts. By the 19th century heavy cavalry horses were no longer required for the battlefields and the first modification in type was made when Thoroughbred and other lighter types of stallions were used to influence the breed. The result was a most noble and sturdy of carriage horses that were most popular around Europe.
Into the 20th century and breeding of the Holsteiner was interrupted by the two World Wars. Numbers became depleted and disbursed through Europe. It wasn't until 1960 that a new governing body in Germany was formed and by 1976 the official mare band was back to 3000 and stallions 70. Since the sixties Thoroughbred and Anglo Norman blood has been added to the breed to produce a horse suitable as a sport horse. The Holsteiner has acquired more elegant looks and has the most promising future as a jumper, event or dressage horse. The breed has combined the elegance of the Thoroughbred with the dependability, power, ability, heart and stamina of the Holsteiner to today produce one of the most successful and sought after modern sport horses.
The result of careful breeding over many centuries are seen through the successes of such horses as Ratina Z -World Champion showjumping mare, Classic Touch - Olympic Showjumping Gold Medallist, Lucky Lord and Corlandus - both sensational dressage horses, Granat - World Champion and Gold Medal winning dressage horse and finally My Fair Lady who was a World Champion in Eventing. At the most recent Olympic Games at Sydney there were 19 Holsteiners competing and these included two gold medal winning horses in Chacomo (Team Dressage) and Dobel's Cento (Team Showjumping). These successes have seen the other great breeds of Europe introduce Holsteiner blood into their studbooks to improve their breeds. To us this says it all.
Chacomo - image Dirk Caremans courtesy of Euro Dressage