Use and characteristics of the German Sport Horse
Harmony and serenity are two of the key words used by breeders when describing their ideal when they sell a German Sport Horse. Whatever their ancestry, the breed should have the power, balance and correct conformation that a sports horse and a riding horse require. German Sport Horses are identified by a brand which shows a snake entwined round an arrow, which was originally the Brandenburg insignia. There are clear benefits for both purchasers who buy a German Sports Horse and the breeders in drawing together recognised sport horses under a single name. For example, administration and marketing, including passports, can be centralised yet the horses can still have their region of origin represented in the passport.
Origin and history of breeding German Sport Horses
Horse breeding in Germany has always been a strongly regional affair. The development of each breed was in the hands of local breeders who used their individual and collective skills and knowledge to develop types of horse according to the needs of each German state. The creation of the German Sport Horse in 2003 marked a departure from this, in that the horse breed associations of the four states of Berlin-Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia created a single stud book to cover all their regional warmblood breeds. From this time on, all the warmblood horses produced in these states were registered in the German Sport Horse stud book. This reflects a growing interest in the idea of a single German sport horse breed registry, rather than the several breeds of individual states, since there has always been much crossbreeding and as a result most of the breeds have shared ancestry and are similar performance horses. The history behind this decision dates back to the days of the German Democratic Republic, when all warmblood sport horse types were united into the single breed known as the GDR Elegant Warmblood (Edles Warmblut). After reunification, there was a reversion to the original individual breeds such as the Mecklenburg, the Brandenburg, the Saxony-Anhalt and the Thuringian warmbloods, along with the Saxon Riding Horse. The decision to unite the breeds under the German Sport Horse name in 2003 meant that breeders could market their horses jointly and rationalise their licencing and auctions. In 2014, the Wuerttemberg, the Bavarian Warmblood and the Zweibrucken breeds joined the German Sport Horse group too. While the breeders all agree on the basic quality that every German Sport Horse should display, discussions between various breed associations and organisations are continuing. The German Sport Horse breed is still a developing concept.
German Sport Horses in equestrianism
Since German Sport Horses represent the best of the individual warmblood breeds from all over Germany, they are clearly already an excellent choice for competitive riders in all the major equestrian disciplines. Adopting the German Sport Horse "brand" makes it easier for international buyers and sellers to relate to the quality of the horse.