The Holsteiner horse is a warmblood, powerful and elegant breed. It is similar to the Hanoverian breed only a bit heavier. The Holsteiner is heavily built, with sloped shoulders, clearly defined withers and a compact, well rounded body. The legs are heavily boned and short. The head is straight, plain and placed on a strong, muscular neck.
The traditional colors of Holsteiners are grey, bay, black and chestnut.
Dependable, obedient horses and very willing to work. They are intelligent, even-tempered and have a relaxed personality.
When the breed was first developed, back in the 1300's and until before the onset of mechanization, Holsteiners were used in agriculture, as coach horses and occasionally for riding. Nowadays, Holsteiners serve different purposes. They have been greatly successful as Olympic sport horses. In the 1976 Olympics, Holsteiners dominated the Equestrian Olympics. They are powerful horses and are successful show jumpers. They are also excellent show hunters, while they can also be used in dressage, eventing and combined driving. Of course they are also suited for riding.
The Holsteiner is a strong, hardy breed that has had to develop strong, robust feet and legs in order to survive. However, due to the enormous demands put on these horses in competition, there are quite a few incidences of lameness among Holsteiners. Owners should take precautionary measures to avoid lameness; they could use leg protection for jumping or wraps and boots for dressage work.
The first written record of Holsteiner horse breeding dates back to the 13th century. The breed originated in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Northern Germany where it was developed in local monasteries. It is a descendant of wild horse breeds from the local area. These breeds were infused with Spanish and Arabian blood; the result was a more refined breed, the Holsteiner. The American Holsteiner Horse Association was founded in 1978.