Breed Name: Hanoverian
For generations, the Hanoverian horse has been recognized as one of the most prominent and successful breeds of riding horses in the world today. The breed originated in northern Germany in the state of Lower Saxony, the former kingdom of Hannover, where a flourishing horse-breeding industry has existed for 400 years. The State Stud was established at Celle in 1735, and the Hanoverian Studbook was officially begun in 1888.
The breed retains the substantial bone, sturdiness and stamina of its heritage: nearly 300 years ago the Hanoverian was bred to serve as a robust carriage and military horse. Since the end of World War II, the breeding goal has been to exclusively produce a more versatile performance horse. Breeding stock is very carefully inspected and selected for correct conformation, athletic ability and inner qualities such as disposition and trainability. The Hanoverian has natural impulsion and light and elastic gaits characterized by a ground-covering walk, a floating trot, and a soft, round, rhythmic canter.
The Hanoverian in the United States
After discovering the breed's athletic talent and rideability, American competitors began importing Hanoverians and a need arose to continue the German standard of selectivity for the breed in this country. In 1978 the American Hanoverian Society (AHS) was incorporated for that purpose. Over the years, the Society has worked closely with the German Hanoverian Verband (the Verband hannoverscher Warmblutzuechter) inspecting breeding stock, registering horses, and licensing and performance testing stallions.
In 1995 the AHS assumed full responsibility for breeding Hanoverians in this country. To maintain continuity, the AHS invites representatives of the HV to judge breeding stock and to attend the annual business meeting.
Quality performance prospects are the result of the Hanoverian selection process. Each year the AHS organizes a national inspection tour to register foals, inspect and performance test mares, and license stallions. In order for a foal to be registered, both the sire and dam must be AHS approved.
Certain non-Hanoverian mares and stallions are eligible for inspection and entry into the studbook if they meet strict breed and pedigree requirements and attain sufficient scores upon presentation. A horse with only one AHS approved parent (either a Hanoverian-papered Main Studbook dam or an Elite Hanoverian Stallion sire) is eligible for a Certificate of Pedigree which enables participation in the association's awards program.
The breeding aim is a noble, correctly built warmblood horse capable of superior performance, a horse with natural impulsion and space-gaining elastic movements--a horse that because of its temperament, character, and willingness is suited principally as an all-around riding horse.
The Hanoverian is a warmblood breed that is bred for the Olympic disciplines of dressage, show jumping and eventing. However, it is also used in driving and as an all-around riding horse.
The most famous Hanoverian in America is the mare Brentina, who was retired after a stellar international career in dressage. With rider Debbie McDonald she represented the United States on numerous occasions, and won both the individual and team gold medals at the 1999 Pan American Games. She also won the silver medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and the bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Another very famous Hanoverian Olympian is Graf George (2009). He won a team bronze under Michael Poulin in the 1992 Olympics in Spain. Then under Guenter Seidel he got another team bronze and an eighth place individual in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was ninth in 1998 at WEG in Rome. He was also American National Dressage Champion in 1993 and 1998, as well as the USDF Horse of the Year at Grand Prix in 1998.
Breed Association: The American Hanoverian Society
(Information provided by The American Hanoverian Society)