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    The hanoverian

    Beginning of breeding

    The usual process is that breeders of common interests and breeding aims come together and form an association, start a stud-book and establish rules and regulations concerning registration. That is, however, not the way it happened in Hanover. There, it all started with the foundation of the State Stud at Celle in 1735. Since this time the State stud has kept careful records of pedigrees of their stallions and the mares bred to them, so when in 1888 the Royal Agricultural Society officially establihed the "Hanoverian Warmblood Stud-book" it had already an excellent basis on which could be build up.

    Foundation of studbook

    In 1899 the Chamber of Agriculture took over the stud-book as keeper, and it carried on until 1922 when it passed these duties on to the “Verband hannoverscher Warmblutzüchter” (the Society of Hanoverian Warmblood Breeders), which came into existence that same year and is the governing body today.

    Foundation of the association (Hannoveraner Verband e. V.)

    The "Verband" came into being in 1922 through the unification of 54 local breeding clubs, which existed in Hanover at the same time, and of which some were more than 50 years old. Combined, they accounted for more than 10,560 breeders. The idea was not so much to rob these clubs of their independence and their individual, peculiar character but rather to co-ordinate their activities for the good of all.

    These local clubs, most of them still exist today and even have increased in number, are the main pillars of the Verband. They determine to a far reaching extent the choice of state stallions sent to their district and they organize the annual mare grading shows. Until 2006 the constitution of the Verband provides that in Lower Saxony each individual member must also belong to one of 7 district societies, which in most cases cover the area of a country or similar governmental unit.

    The breeding aim is the Hanoverian ...

    ... a rideable, noble, big framed and correct warmblood horse, which, on the basis of its natural abilities, its temperament and character is suitable as a performance horse as well as a pleasure horse.

    On this basis the Verband strives for the breeding of talented sport horses for the disciplines

    • dressage,
    • show-jumping,
    • eventing and
    • driving.

    The Hanoverian

    There can be no question that the Hanoverian horse represents today one of the most prominent breeds for riding horses in the world.

    The stud-book comprises close to 19,000 active brood mares and 450 approved breeding stallions and covers the largest homogeneous breeding area in Europe. In fact, Hanoverians are found in all five continents.

    Today the Hanoverian horse represents the most important breed of sport horses in the world. Olympic as well as World champions and the largest number of Worldcup winner are from the Hanoverian breeding area. A huge number of top competition horses have the H brand - the Hanoverian trade mark - on their back left side, which takes its inspiration from the crossed horse heads at the gable of the breeding farms in Lower Saxony. But not only top riders benefit from Hanoverian Horses. The Horses with the "H"-Brand also deligth pleasure riders in many countries throughout the world.

    Judging criteria in the stud-book inspection

    Horses are graded along the following procedure:

    a) breed and sex type
    b) conformation
    b1) head
    b2) neck
    b3) saddle position
    b4) frame
    b5) forelegs
    b6) hindlegs

    The score for conformation is the total score of the special criteria b1) to b6) and needs not to be the arithmetic average.

    c) correctness of gaits
    d) impulsion and elasticity (trot)
    e) canter
    f) walk
    g) free jumping
    h) general impression and development
    i) total score

    The total score of a horse results from adding together the points awarded in criteria a) to f) and h), in certain cases, the evaluation of free-running and free-jumping. When marks of "0" points are awarded then that particular criteria has not been considered.

    Overall impression and development

    Desirable: willingness to work; impression and type; good character; even temperament; development according to age; size: standing at an average of approximately 16.1h.

    Undesirable: no type, without impression; nervous, difficult to handle; development not according to age, too small or too tall horses.

    Breed and sex type

    Desirable: a modern, noble and willing sport horse of varying calibre; big framed, a well defined outline, lean texture, well-muscled with a clear sex type.

    Undesirable: too small or too tall horses, coarse body parts, stocky, plain and rough types, no sex type, poorly marked outline.


    Desirable: noble and well defined in other words not much subcutaneous tissue; should match the size of the horse's body; a large, keen eye with a calm expression, large nostrils, a clearly defined mouth and light jaw.

    Undesirable: too large in comparison to the overall size of the body, a bland expression, Roman nose, dish-nosed head, sheep's profile, small sunken eyes with much white showing, strong jaws, droopy ears, serious dental defects.


    Desirable: well proportioned developed, growing smaller towards the head; light and flexible connection between neck and head (light poll), set at right angle to the shoulder with a clear and well muscled crest to the top.

    Undesirable: too low or too high put on neck; insufficiently muscled; too long or too short; no tapering towards the head; thick poll, thin neck, ewe neck, swan neck, fat neck.

    Saddle Position

    Desirable: a long, sloping shoulder; clearly pronounced withers, extending far back and connected to a slightly downward pointing top line.

    Undesirable: flat, upright shoulder, short, flat, straight, high withers, straight, arched or hollow back.


    Desirable: rectangular horse, big outline and compact with harmonious top line, in other words long neck, sloping shoulder ; long withers ; a long enough back ; broad, well muscled loins; long, sloping, well muscled croup; body, divided about even into forehand, middlepiece and hind quarters; a deep enough chest with compact flanks.

    Undesirable: short outline, very long or very short back, straight topline; hollow back, arched back; open or tight loins; short, straight, downhill croup; lopsided or high tail; poor flanks.


    Desirable: from a lateral view a line dropped from the tuber spinae, on the spine of the scapulaa, should bisect the leg to the fetlock joint and then carry to a point just behind the heel. From a front view, the legs should be straight and stand parallel to each other. A line dropped from the point of the shoulder should bisect the leg.

    Lean, well muscled foreleg, well defined, strong joints; elastic and medium long pasterns; angle between ground surface and pastern approx. 45 to 50 degrees; strong, even-sized and even-angled hoofs proportionate to the size of the horse, angle between ground surface and the anterior line approx. 45 to 50 degrees.

    Undesirable: lack of muscles; all faults of conformation like sagging knees, calf knees, standing under in front, camped in front, upright, base wide, base narrow, toe-in, toe-out; flat joints; all abnormal conformation of bones, joints or tendons; too long or too short pasterns, too weak or too upright pasterns, all abnormal conformation of the hoof as contracted hoof, bound hoof, narrow, sloping, deep hoofs, flat heels.


    Desirable: from a lateral view a line dropped from the tuber isschii should hit the point of the hock and go down the posterior aspect of the metatarsal area. Viewed from behind a line dropped from the point of the tuber isschii bisects hock, pastern and hoof.

    Lean, well defined joints, strong, well defined hocks, elastic and medium sized pasterns, angle between ground surface and the anterior line approx. 50 to 55 degrees.

    Undesirable: all faults of conformation as standing over or standing under behind, bow legs, cow-hocks, sickle-hocked,  wide or narrow at the hocks, hoof pointing inwards or outwards; excessively upright legs; weak pasterns; small or incorrect joints like curby hock and bone-sparvin; abnormal conformation of tendons and bones.

    Correctness of Gaits

    Desirable: viewed from the front and from behind the foot path should be straight and regular (even).

    Undesirable: all faults as winging, dishing paces, loose joints.

    Impulse and elasticity (trot)

    Desirable: start with a clear two-beated cadence, a high level of impulsion, elasticity, ground cover and balance; active, well bending hind legs moving with thrust under centre of gravity; clear activity of the musculature of the back and the thighs; uphill-moving forehand with a freely moving shoulder.

    Undesirable: uneven rhythm, uninspiring, not enough ground cover, flat, swaying.


    The canter at free-running and free-jumping may be considered for the total score as an additional criterion. Both criteria are taken into account for grading young stallions.

    Desirable: rhythm (three-beat), impulsion, elasticity, ground cover, balance; every canter stride should be powerful push with well bemt hindlegs; clear uphill canter; under centre of gravity striding hind legs.

    Undesirable: irregularity, not enough ground covering, flat, no impulsion, lacking cadance.


    Desirable: rhythmical and even four beat, ground covering, energetic and elastic walk, well balanced.

    Undesirable: pacing, unrhythmical, irregular, short, tight weak.

    Free jumping

    Desirable: agile, full of ability and scope; pronounced coolness and intelligence; clear pick-up, well-developed quick legs at take-off (almost horizontal lower front arm over the jump); well rounded back with clear marked withers, downward rounded neck and hind legs opening slightly (bascule); the flow and rhythm of the canter should be maintained.

    Undesirable: uncontrolled or hesitant jumping; hanging legs, high head carriage, hallow back, loss of action.


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