The Holsteiner originated with heavy European horses, but was leavened with the introduction of the hot-blooded barbs brought from the Holy Lands by crusaders. Horse breeding as an institution and as cottage industry continued; by the sixteenth century, the Holsteiner was known throughout Europe as a tall, powerful, elegant riding and driving horse. With their elegance, charisma, and willing style Holsteiners became the mount of choice for European royalty, and became the warhorse preferred for their armies as well. Horse breeding continued to flourish in the region throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and in 1713, the crown instituted annual inspections and approvals defining the breed and controlling the direction in which it would develop. In 1730, the Equerry to the King of France, De la Enérinière (who is still revered for his contributions to the art of equitation) praised the Holsteiners aptitude as jumpers, their ability to perform airs above the ground, their beauty and elegant action. In the early part of the nineteenth century, the Duke of Austenberg introduced thoroughbreds to the Holstein line. The advent of artillery was reducing the need for heavy horses of war, and the network of roads throughout Europe had been developed to the extent that the call now was for a lighter horse capable of comfortably transporting riders or driver over long distances. The versatile, elegant Holsteiner welcomed the refinement and stamina of the thoroughbred, and the Holsteiner became the new performance horse for the European road. In 1830, Royal Horse Agent Jakob Olde began to import Yorkshire Coach horses, a line used in England and proven not on the track but on the mail routes of the English countryside. These horses brought a fresh line of stamina and energy, but contributed more bone than the lighter Thoroughbred. The resulting combination of the calm, but powerful and elegant old school with the fresh bloodlines promoted the Holsteiner to new popularity. The German State stepped in and took over the Holsteiner Verband in 1926, appropriating their stallions and taking on the judging of the horses. The decimation of the Second World War cost the Holsteiner line terribly, and the numbers of registered Holsteiners were greatly reduced. Before the war, there were six foundation stallion bloodlines. After the war only the Achille line survived. In the years following the war, the use of cars, trucks and tractors gradually eliminated the traditional role of the Holstein horse almost entirely. Holsteiners, like all horses, became animals of pleasure and not of need. While the Holsteiner made a dramatic impact as a sport horse, the State bureaucracy was not designed for the art of horse breeding. The State continued to manage the Holsteiner breed until 1960, when it was decided that there was no real justification for the costs involved in maintaining the Holsteiner stud. Within days of the state's disbanding of its stud, determined horseman had stepped in to save the ancient line. They purchased thirty-three of the state's stallions, and formed the Verband der Züchter des Holsteiner Pferdes that we know today. The Verband's immediate focus was on the development of the Holsteiner as a sport horse. Building on the inherent strengths of the ancient lines- their endurance, willingness to work, athletic capabilities, elegance and reliable temperament, the Verband once again turned to outside bloodlines to reaffirm the performance capability of the ancient breed. The foundation mare lines remained unaltered; the stallion pool was expanded to include horses from other registries with the desired characteristics for the sport horse the Holsteiner would become. The Verband welcomed thoroughbred stallions Marlon, Ladykiller, Cottage Son, Manometer, Anblick, and Frivol; the anglo-arab Ramzes; and the great Celle de Francaise stallion Cor de la Bryére. These excellent stallions bloodlines were mingled in with the ancient mare lines, and the modern Holsteiner- an elegant, powerful horse; tall, with calm disposition and huge athletic talent, had been born.

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