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Olympic and Pan Am Games Medalist to Headline Trakehner Convention

North America’s oldest warmblood horse organization, The American Trakehner Association (ATA) will hold its annual convention, membership meeting and breeding stock inspections on November 2-4 at Eden Park Equestrian Center in Sunbury, Ohio. Spectators are welcome. Details and schedule can be found on the organization’s website at http://www.americantrakehner.com

Sunbury, Ohio’s Eden Park to host Performance Exhibition

Highlighting the performance exhibition on Friday evening, November 3rd will be Darren Chiacchia, the 2004 United States Olympic Equestrian Team bronze medalist from the Athens Olympics. Mounted on the Trakehner stallion Windfall, he also won the gold medal at the Pan American Games in eventing in 2003. Chiacchia will give a mini-clinic and demonstration of preparing young Trakehner horses for sport horse competitions. Pony Club and 4-H horse club youth members are admitted free. General admission tickets are $5.00.

Also featured will be Lauren Sprieser, the bronze medalist in the USEF National Young Adult Dressage “Bretina Cup” Championship. The exhibition will also showcase 18 approved Trakehner breeding stallions from across North America.

The Ultimate Sporthorse?

A noted horseman once said, “If the Thoroughbred is the Indy 500 racer of the horse world, then the Trakehner is the Porsche.”

Since the breeding goal is to produce an all around sporthorse, ATA members are striving to breed sound, athletic, attractive, well mannered, good moving all-purpose animals. While the breed is primarily used for dressage, jumping, eventing and show hunters, other uses continue to evolve such as driving, police horses and pleasure mounts.

Quality Assurance Program

Unlike most horse registries, Trakehners stallions and mares must pass a “quality and temperament inspection” before they are entered into the ATA’s official stud book. Only about 2% of the stallions from each foal crop are approved annually for official breeding. Breeding stock inspections are scheduled for Nov 3 & 4.

Tragic History

The Trakehner horse, founded 275 years ago in East Prussia in 1732 is the world’s oldest warmblood breed, even older than the Thoroughbred Jockey Club. Trakehners were an unparalleled cavalry and sport horse until World War II when the breed was practically destroyed. In 1939 prior to the beginning of the war, over 43,000 mares were bred by Trakehner stallions in East Prussia, the horse breeding capital of Europe of its time.

In the dead of winter in 1944, the East Prussians began evacuating in their escape to the safety of the West taking their Trakehner horses with them. Thus began the famous “Trek,” a 600-mile journey of incredible difficulty mostly on foot and in wagons with little food or feed for horses. Only about 800 Trakehner horses survived this life or death performance test and these horses formed the new foundation for the breed. Approximately 60,000 Trakehner horses were confiscated by the Russian army on the eastern front. Rebuilding and recovery of the breed continues today in 21 countries with approximately 7,000 active breeding mares and about 400 approved stallions worldwide.

Photo by Ralph Kuhlman

 

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