The Holsteiner was developed in Schleswig-Holstein area, the northernmost province of Germany which is believed to have been the horse breeding area since the Middle Ages. It is thought to be the oldest of warm blood breeds, tracing back to the 13th century. The German Marsh Horse was the foundation breed and over the centuries many other breeds were added: Andalusian, Neapolitan, Yorkshire Coach Horse, Cleveland Bay, Trakehner, and Thoroughbred. In the past, their strength, good gaits and majestic looks made Holstein horses desirable as warhorses as well as for farm use.
After World War II, when the need for horses in the military and for farming began to decline, interbreeding with Thoroughbreds refined the Holsteiner to its current status as very successful sports horse used for jumping, dressage, and driving. Their "self-carriage" make Holsteiners prized as carriage horses and parade animals.
Holsteiners are large, standing between 16 and 17.1hh. The breed has a bold, expressive face, with a deep body and a short, flexible back. These horses have strong joints and abundant bone, with the hind legs well set under the body, giving the horses natural balance. The usual colors are brown, black, and bay with occasional white markings on the face and lower legs. The American Holsteiner Horse Association acts as a registry and maintains the studbook for Holsteiner horses in the United States.
- Encyclopedia of the horse. Elwin Hartley Edwards
- Horses: A Guide to Selection, Care and Enjoyment. J. Warren Evans
- The Horse Riding & Care Handbook. Bernadette Faurie