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What is a Hanoverian Horse?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Hanoverian horses are a well known breed of European warmblood horse. These horses famously excel in Olympic competition, often dominating other breeds in a number of Olympic events. Hanoverians are also used as sport horses all over the world, and they can be seen in a range of environments from the dressage ring to the hunt field. Their natural friendliness and good tempers make them excellent working horses and sporting companions, and a well trained Hanoverian can be a great choice for an up and coming young rider.

This German breed is believed to have its origins in European warhorses bred for strong bones and endurance. In 1735, King George II of England established a stud at Hanover, laying the groundwork for the modern Hanoverian. Originally, Hanoverians were bred to be carriage horses, with athletic gaits, powerful bodies, and attractive conformations. By the 1800s, a formal studbook had been established, and Thoroughbred blood was introduced to the Hanoverian to make these horses more suitable for sporting.

Hanoverians stand around 16 hands tall on average, and they are typically chestnut, brown, bay, black, or gray. They are extremely agile and graceful, with a famous ground covering walk, a delicate floating trot, and a very active canter. These athletic horses are also very easy to work with in training, making them excellent candidates for dressage, a very exacting equestrian sport.

Before a horse is admitted into the Hanoverian studbook, it is carefully examined, and it must meet a series of exact points. The purity of the breed has been maintained for over 200 years, with only the best horses admitted into the studbook, although breeders have been flexible, changing the breed to meet fluctuating public demand. Hanoverians still retain the qualities which make them good carriage horses, for example, but modern Hanoverians are somewhat lighter and more athletic than their predecessors. Breeders have also kept the pool of available horses large, ensuring genetic diversity and a stronger breed as a result.

Numerous breeders and organizations all over the world connect owners of Hanoverians and hold regular sales for people who wish to purchase these horses. A Hanoverian can be expensive, due to the exacting breed standard, but many riders feel that the cost is worth it because these horses are extremely dependable, level-headed performers. The fame of the Hanoverian has made it especially popular in the dressage community, and at high levels of dressage, a high proportion of the competitors tend to be Hanoverian horses.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Heavanet — On May 06, 2014

@raynbow- My cousin has several Hanoverian horses, and they are great animals. If they have been raised around humans, they are social and trusting. They are also gentle, and great to groom, pet, and ride. I think you will enjoy your experience with them at the horse camp.

By Raynbow — On May 05, 2014

Has anyone ever worked with a Hanoverian horse? I am going to be working at a horse camp this summer, and there are several of these horses on the premises. I was wondering if they are easy to work with and trusting of humans.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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