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The Trakehner is known for thin lines, grace, and endurance, all holdovers from its origin as a cavalry mount. Mares, of course, are female horses over the age of three. Because of their beauty and durability, Trakehners continue to be highly valued horses.
Trakehners are a hundreds-year-old breed, owing their beginnings to King Wilhelm of Germany in the 1700s, when the insightful monarch realized that knights riding heavy mounts would never again dominate battlefields. He desired a strong, light, speedy horse to carry mounted infantry, and the Trakehner was the result. Despite its beauty and strength, the breed faced tremendous challenges due to the powder-keg nature of its environs. In 1938, the breed numbered half a million in east Prussia, and it had established its place as a champion in both speed and dressage events. But World War II brought German armies and blitzkriegs through its homeland, followed a few years later, by Russian armies pushing back, sending those in east Prussia, along with their horses, fleeing for their lives. A devoted group of Trakehner breeders led a small group of horses west, fleeing war and ruin as winter bore down and the war dragged to a close. They survived, barely, with only 21 original stud mares. A valiant effort in the post-war years led to the breed’s survival and resurgence in the decades that followed.
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