Breeding Philosophy


The Holsteiner warmblood horse is a pure breed; limited outcrossing to improve certain traits is accepted. Pure breeding is the method chosen to maintain the characteristics of the breed, which means that first and foremost Holsteiner stallions and mares are used in the breeding programme.
In his preface to the book „The Holsteiner Horse“ published by the FNverlag in 2009, the Holsteiner Verband honorary president, Breido Graf zu Rantzau, puts it like this: “You get what you see – and  the Holsteiner brand ensures Holsteiner blood!”

Hence the Verband der Züchter des Holsteiner Pferdes e. V. is recognized as the ultimate authority on the Holsteiner bloodlines.

Article 22 of the Verband der Züchter des Holsteiner Pferdes e.V. regulations and bylaws defines the breeding goal. It details the requirements and desirable traits regarding
outward appearance
way of going
inner qualities/ ability to perform/ soundness.
Desirable is a highly trainable and versatile riding horse, physically and mentally able to perform, primarily suited for show jumping, but also with a great aptitude for dressage and eventing.

In order to assess the young stallions’ performance potential, the following traits are tested at the age of 3 or prior to listing in the stallion book:
character and temperament
basic gaits

Mares should be tested for their natural ability to perform at the age of 3. 
The evaluation of the desirable traits is up to the Holsteiner Verband deciding panels (committees). The Verband delegate assembly elects the members of the following committees: 
foal inspection committee,
mare inspection committee,
stallion grading committee  + appeal committee.

Moreover, a breeding committee is set up with the task to advise the Verband board in all breeding matters. 
The Verband breeding programme involves all measures suitable in terms of improvement with regard to the breeding goal and the traits of the Holsteiner horse as stated in the articles 21-29 of the Verband regulation and bylaws
The Verband registration rules are dealt with at great length in article 30 and the following articles.
A stallion is eligible for listing in the Verband stallion book I at the earliest in his 3rd year, if he has been Verband inspected and approved and fulfils the studbook and pedigree requirements. A permanent listing will only take place if the requirements stated in article 26 section 4.2 –stallion performance test – have been fulfilled.
His sire and his damsire must be registered in the Holsteiner stallion book I. The other sires on the dam’s side of the pedigree (3rd to 5th generation) must be approved stallions. Moreover, the dam of a stallion must fulfil a great deal of other requirements. 

There is a principal difference in listing mares foaled up to and including 1994 and mares foaled from 1995 onward.
So, to give an example, the Zuchtbuch I für Stuten (ZB I = mare book I), lists 3-year-old and older mares born from1995 onward; the sire, as well as the damsire and the sire of the dam’s dam must be registered in the Verband stallion book I. The mare’s outward appearance is judged on seven criteria. Other requirements apply for listing in the Zuchtbuch II (ZB II = mare book II) and Vorbuch (VB = preliminary mare book).

The following rules apply for the listing of mares from other breeds:
A mare which does not meet the pedigree requirements stated in article 35 (non-Holsteiner blood) might be registered in the Verband studbook provided that she has earned 50000 Euro or more in equestrian sports. The board decides on the request upon recommendation of the breeding committee.

Registration papers are only issued if several requirements are met. Both parents, for instance, must be registered in the appropriate section of the studbook in the year of conception or at latest the year of the foal’s birth. Moreover, the foal parentage must be verified by DNA testing.
Suckling foals are evaluated by the foal inspection committee and receive a score for type and conformation and a separate score for movement and impulsion. Very good foals are awarded premium status which is documented in the registration papers.
The Kiel Chamber of Agriculture uses both scores to estimate the breed values which are particularly relevant for young sire evaluation.  Click here for the current 2009 breed value estimation.
At a 2007 breed expert meeting held in Uelzen, Dr. Thomas Nissen, the Holsteiner Verband breed director, lectured on the situation of German horse breeding and impending structural changes. He emphasized that the Holsteiner principles of pure breeding will not be abandoned and said that there was no direct competition between the Verband and the other German horse breed societies due to this strict policy.
He rightly characterized pure breeding as an asset in another panel!
Dr.Nissen offered more detailed information about the Holsteiner breeding standards at our first delegate assembly. His lecture was published in Pferd und Sport, issue 7–2008.

Published in 2009 by FNverlag:
The Holsteiner Horse -The Success Story of Horse Breeding Between the Seas
This new book gives an overall picture of the Holsteiner breed. In addition to a wealth of breed information, it also deals with the interesting historical development.



04. 11. 2010

!! Neuer Programmablauf !! vom 04. - 06.11.2010 Der ...

04. 12. 2010

5. Forum der Holsteiner Jungzüchter, 14.00 Uhr in Elmshorn

05. 12. 2011

 Vorführung der Verbandshengste in Neumünster