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Rising Numbers in Horse Breeding and increasing Demand for Riding Horses

by Laura Wienecke
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Unlike in sport, the Corona pandemic has not affected horse breeding negatively. Quite the opposite: “In 2021, we were back at the pre-Corona numbers in all areas, with a tendency to increase. An extremely pleasing result, especially when you consider the increasing demand for horses last year. However, it is not at all foreseeable what effect the Ukraine war will have on the economy or agriculture and thus also on horse breeding in Germany,” says Dr. Klaus Miesner, Managing Director of the Breeding Division of the German Equestrian Federation (FN).

Market for riding horses has developed very well in 2021

In 2020, the German warmblood breeding recorded a minimal decline in registered broodmares to 51,310, while the previous year’s figure of 51,813 mares almost matched the 2019 figure of 51,944. “It is questionable whether this has anything at all to do with the Corona pandemic, because the numbers have been stable in this area for several years,” Dr Miesner said. There has been a significant increase in the number of mares newly registered in the stud book with 9,256, it is about 12 per cent higher than in the previous year (2020: 8,263, 2019: 8,340). And the number of coverings also surpasses the 30,000 mark again in 2021; this had fallen to 29,692 in 2020 and now stands at 30,131 (2019: 30,694 coverings). At the same time, with a total of 26,622 foals in 2021, more foals were registered than in previous years,  “The rising numbers are probably also related to the fact that the market for riding horses has developed very well in 2021. In this context, a growing interest of customers in broodmares is also noticeable, which is also indicated by the significant increase in newly registered broodmares,” said Dr. Miesner.

Number of registered warmblood stallions stays constant

In 2021, the total number of registered stallions was 2,300, compared to 2,318 the year before (2019: 2,305). 378 stallions compete in the stallion performance test for riding horses, which is six less than in the previous year. There were 134 participants in the sport tests (2020: 155), and 94 participants in the 14-day disposition tests (2020: 102). Once again, the number of stallions taking part in the 50-day stallion performance test increased significantly. This number rose from 127 participants in 2020 to a total of 150 and is thus exactly twice as high as in 2019. “From a breeding point of view, the high number of tested stallions is pleasing, as this was not to be expected due to the cancellation of performance tests in spring 2021 due to herpes,” says Dr Miesner.

Also more coldbloods, heavy warmbloods and ponies

An upward trend can also be observed in the category of heavy warmbloods, some of them are considered to be endangered breeds. Here, the number of registered mares has risen from 1,249 to 1,300, and 718 matings are registered, which is 81 more than in 2020. A total of 112 stallions (2020: 104) are available for these breeds.

A continuing upswing is also noticeable in the cold-blooded breeds. The number of broodmares exceeds with 4,367 mares the count of 2019 (4,343) and the number of newly registered mares continues to grow from 379 in 2019 to 446 in 2020 to currently 543 studbook entries in 2021. The same is also reflected in the mating numbers. With 1,776 coverings (2019: 1,791) and 1,275 foals (2019: 1,302), the numbers have almost returned to pre-Corona levels.

Last but not least, the upward trend is also noticeable in ponies. The slight decrease in registered broodmares in 2020 is more than compensated for last year, increasing from 19,477 to 20,370 compared to 2019. The number of coverings also continues to grow, reaching 10,613 in 2021 (2020: 9,832, 2019: 9,083). The same applies to the number of registered foals. This rises to 9,337 (2020: 8598, 2019: 8,399).

If we look at the overall figures across all breeds, we see that German horse breeding is generally in positive range in 2021. Thus, the number of mares registered increases from 83,927 in 2020 to 85,849, registered foals from 38,224 to 39,877 and the count of stallions from 8,129 to 8,339. And the number of coverings is also above the level of 2019 (43,287 coverings) with 45,041.

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Source: FN

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