Mare Lines

    The basis of the Holsteiner breed.

    The mare lines or stems are of particular importance in the Holsteiner studbook. The first studbook published in 1897 was compiled by Georg Ahsbahs who traced back the mare families to the beginning of the 19th century, assigning stem numbers to each of them.  

    This system is still used today and the envy of many other breed societies.

    Already at that time the mares were evaluated and received scores on six traits, bloodline, height, colour, elegance, movement, and bone structure. These days, evaluation has been much improved, but is still based on that method.  

    By the late 1980s, Holstein had developed a system to evaluate performance in young mares, the so called mare tests, a yardstick for all European sport horse stud books.


    Own performance and conformation

    Already last century, a clear idea of Holsteiner type had been formed. This important breed criterion has been preserved and is being maintained by the breeders in the land between the seas with pride: Holsteiners are one of the few original warmblood breeds and thus considered very special all over the world.

    In addition to breed type, a correct conformation, first and foremost of the topline and the legs   are among the most important traits closely assessed by the Holsteiner breeders.

    400 mares per year

    Other than the evaluation of type, the inspection of the mares focuses on the three basic gaits. Every year, some 400 mares are entered into the studbook for mares (central studbook) according to this strict standard. The scores they receive determine the designation: mares receiving 47 points or above for type, topline, front legs, hind legs, walk, trot, and canter are awarded District Premium status, those scoring 52 or above Verband Premium status. After having successfully passed the mare performance test (min. average mark 7.0), a Verband Premium mare is awarded the designation “State Premium mare”, a title much coveted by the breeders and only obtained by some 50 mares of every age group

    The improvement of the Holsteiner breed is guaranteed by this rigorous selection. Currently the Holsteiner stud book for mares is closed, with no non-Holsteiner mares eligible for entry. The stallion situation is different; for several years not only English Thoroughbred but also other outside-blood stallions with exceptional own performance and/or performance breeding have been included into the breeding programme.