By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Peter Llewellyn, and personal collection
To understand the pedigree of a mare or stallion it is important that you know the ancestors. If we look at Clinton’s pedigree below, at first glance we might think that he’s 100% Holstein – bred by Rudolf Wieck and belonging to Stamm 8829. Indeed, the Stamm number – beginning with the number ‘1’ – already indicates a late-registered mare line, according to the first ever book that recorded mare line families which was published in 1886.
The younger the mare line, the higher the number. Currently the Holsteiner Verband has about 9,000 Stamms, many of which are no longer active.
The Trakehner mare line of Leonore
The mare Brischka (Raimond - Loni x Lachteufel, bred by Rheder Thormählen) has a Trakehner dam, and the fourth dam on his maternal side is also Takehner.
If you read the literature about English Thoroughbreds, it is often said that you should look at six generations. So what are these two other generations? I have asked myself this question for several years. Although online databases show the motherline with several generations, I couldn’t find information about it. In this case, however, it is not only about bloodlines, it also bring a black page in history and culture to the table and, thanks to Neel Heinrich Schoof, the son of a well-known Holsteiner breeder, who now works for the Trakehner Verband, I got in contact with Erhard Schulte. A passionate man who knows a lot about Trakehner horses, who was on the board of directors for a long time, and is still an honorable member of the Trakehner Verband. He organizes journeys to the old East Prussia to discover more about the history of this fascinating breed.
So, let’s take a step back in history. In 1944 the Russian Army advanced closer to East Prussia, what was then a part of Germany. After the First World War, it was separated from Germany with an area belonging to Poland in between. By January 1945 the situation had turned very dangerous, and several very tragic incidents had already occurred.
At that time, Trakehnen was once the biggest breeding farm in Europe with 1,200 horses, as well as privately owned mares totalling 25,000, and 1,000 stallions. Suddenly, forced to evacuate, and a desperate journey to the west started – more than 1,000 kilometres, including 80 kilometres over the frozen East Sea (including das Fisches Haff).
Reports vary about the number of horses that eventually survived, but it was apparently between 1,000 and 1,500, one of whom was the mare Leonore (Bürge - Lola x Pirol, bred by M. Jonat). Alongside another mare, she pulled a wagon and made it to Schleswig-Holstein, where other horses from this trek died. What is even more astonishing is that she was in foal, kept the foal, and gave birth to a healthy filly christened Loni (Lachteufel,bred by I. Niemann) who was was born in 1945.
In East Prussia, Leonore had already become a highly rated premium mare, born in the Tilsit-Ragnit district in the central breeding area of Trakehner horses on the Memel, and likely sold as a foal to the Niemann family from Kobylinnen, in the district of Lyck. In West Germany, in addition to the mentioned Loni, she produced three more foals, of which Lore, born in 1947 by the Holsteiner Notruf, and the Trakehner daughter Libelle von Heidedichter, born in 1949, whose branch is now extinct... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber