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What is a Hanoverian?
For generations, the Hanoverian horse has been recognized as one of the most prominent and successful breeds of riding horses in the world today. The breed originated in northern Germany in the state of Lower Saxony, the former kingdom of Hannover, where a flourishing horse-breeding industry has existed for 400 years. The State Stud was established at Celle in 1735, and the Hanoverian Studbook was officially begun in 1888.
The breed retains the substantial bone, sturdiness and stamina of its heritage: nearly 300 years ago the Hanoverian was bred to serve as a robust carriage and military horse. Since the end of World War II, the breeding goal has been to exclusively produce a more versatile performance horse. Breeding stock is very carefully inspected and selected for correct conformation, athletic ability and inner qualities such as disposition and trainability. The Hanoverian has natural impulsion and light and elastic gaits characterized by a ground-covering walk, a floating trot, and a soft, round, rhythmic canter.
The Hanoverian in the United States
After discovering the breed’s athletic talent and rideability, American competitors began importing Hanoverians, and a need arose to continue the German standard of selectivity for the breed in this country. In 1978 the American Hanoverian Society (AHS) was incorporated for that purpose. Over the years, the Society has worked closely with the German Hanoverian Verband (the Verband hannoverscher Warmblutzuechter) inspecting breeding stock, registering horses, and licensing and performance testing stallions. In 1995 the AHS assumed full responsibility for breeding Hanoverians in this country. To maintain continuity, the AHS invites representatives of the HV to judge breeding stock and to attend the annual business meeting.
Selectivity Enhances Success
Quality performance prospects are the result of the Hanoverian selection process. Each year the AHS organizes a national inspection tour to register foals, inspect and performance test mares, and license stallions. In order for a foal to be registered, both the sire and dam must be AHS approved.
Mare inspections take place at age three or older. German and American inspectors evaluate mares for type, conformation and gaits. The Mare Performance Test (MPT) scores a mare’s rideability, gaits and jumping talent. Eligible high-scoring Main Studbook mares that pass this performance test to become Elite Mare Candidates (EMC). Once they have completed the final requirement of producing an AHS-registered foal within three years they are awarded the prestigious title of Elite Mare (EM).
All stallion candidates must be presented for physical inspection. If scores on conformation, movement and jumping ability are sufficient, a temporary breeding license is granted. Stallions must then either complete the 70-Day (formerly 100-day) Stallion Test which evaluates their gaits, trainability and athletic ability in dressage, show jumping and cross country, or they must meet specified performance requirements. Breeding eligibility is verified annually.
Only foals from AHS inspected and approved parents may be register with the AHS. Foals with only one approved parent can receive a Certificate of Pedigree.
Certain non-Hanoverian mares and stallions are eligible for inspection and entry into the studbook if they meet strict breed and pedigree requirements and attain sufficient scores upon presentation. A horse with only one AHS approved parent (either a Hanoverian-papered Main Studbook dam or an Elite Hanoverian Stallion sire) is eligible for a Certificate of Pedigree which enables participation in the AHS Awards Program.