The oldest of the German warmbloods, the Holsteiner is well-loved for its excellence in show jumping and cross country competitions. They are perfectly suited to cover long distances at a high level of activity, with enough strength and sensibility to make them excellent partners.
Named from the Elmshorn district of Holstein where the Holsteiner originated, this breed is descendant of wild marsh horses from the local area dating back as far as 1300.
The monasteries of Uetersen in the Haseldorf marshes started using those local marsh horses for stud as they developed warhorse bloodlines.
Ancestry has traces of Spanish, eastern and Neapolitan blood. A high demand during the 16th through the 18th century kept the Holsteiner breeding industry booming. Many using the Holsteiner blood to improve and refine other breeds.
In 1680 the breeding of the famous cream Holsteiner horses began, later to become the pride of Electors of Hanover.
Early in the 19th century the introduction of Thoroughbreds refined the strong roman nose, lowered their flashy leg action and improved speed and stamina. Yorkshire Coach Horse stallions were also introduced lending a wider leg action well suited to their heavy frame and an even temper.
The result was a finely tuned handsome animal, with nice movement, supreme strength and an even temper.
Average height 16-17 hands
Strong and beautiful movers, initially bred for the high-kneed movement of carriage horses
Tractable temperament fostered by selective breeding
Now bred specifically to be highly adaptable competition horses
Straight and plain head
Strong, muscular neck
Sloped shoulders with clearly defined withers