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The aim is to produce an elegant warmblood of large proportions with action full of elasticity and verve that covers a lot of ground. A strict process of selection and has produced one of the most famous of show jumpers and dressage horses globally
The Hanoverian originated in the 1600’s when Oriental, Spanish and Neapolitan stallions were imported and crossed with local mares. Then in 1732 an Englishman went to Hanover in Germany and became its Prince, later returning to England and becoming King George II. But while in Germany he began a breeding operation and the state stud was founded in Celle in 1735 when a few black Holstein stallions were included in the breeding program. For the first 30 years the Holstein blood was dominant.
From the very beginning, or by the end of the 1700’s, mares produced by the state-owned stallions were registered and pedigrees were kept. The formal stud book dates from the late 1800’s. The Hanoverian horse has been bred now for many centuries!
Breeding stock during the Napoleonic war was extremely depleted with only 30 of 100 stallions being returned to Celle. Thoroughbreds were brought in and at one point in time, 35% of Celle’s stock was Thoroughbred, which was producing a horse too light to perform the work required. After World War II, Trakehner stallions were sent to Celle.
As horses became less needed for agriculture, breeding goals changed to produce good competition horses and again the Thoroughbred blood was used to refine the breed. Since its beginning as a farm and coach horse, the Hanoverian has changed in its physical characteristics, according to need and goals of purpose.
In Germany today, the breeding, selection and registration of these horses are under government supervision. Each spring stallions from Celle are sent to sixty stallions stations to be bred to registered mares.
All horses bred at Celle, bear the distinctive brand of the back to back H.
The breeding and selection program here, may be the finest equine production testing program in the world, involving rigid inspection of all stallions at 2-1/2, culling, until only a few Hanoverian stallions at the very top are sent to Celle. Then the stallions go through intensive training and are performance tested for one year, with temperament also being noted. Many horses are gelded and only the very best are accepted and used for breeding.
The American society has guidelines for performance testing each stallion and mare, based on the procedure used in Europe.
Though this breed is associated with Celle, it is also used to produce another warmblood strain, the Westphalian, at Warendorf. The Westphalian is, to all intents, a Hanoverian bred in Westphalia.
The modern breed has powerful, symmetrical limbs with well pronounced joints, short cannon bones and plenty of bone below the knee on forelegs. The action of the bred is straight, true, very energetic with a particular elastic quality. With little or no knee action, the stride is long
The quarters are very muscular and sometimes there is a characteristic flattening at the croup. The back is medium length with loins giving the power a jumper needs. The modern head is of medium size, clean cut and expression with a lively eye. The neck of the Hanoverian is long and fine, running into large, sloping shoulders.
This breed is a result of meticulous mixing of compatible blood supported by a strict process of selection and has produced one of the most famous of show jumpers and dressage horses globally.
The Hanoverian on the basis of its temperament, character and abilities, is suited for all equine activities. This aim has been achieved through the method of breeding and selection. The breed is well represented by world champions and Olympic winners. The stallions and broodmares are regularly purchased by breeders world wide, in Europe, the United States, Asia, Africa and Australia.