Trakehners are incredibly intelligent horses with good memories and problem-solving abilities. However, they can only learn what you teach them. If you are not a good trainer, then your Trakehner will learn bad habits. They also are clever enough to get out of work, so you must make work enjoyable and full of reward for them. Then, they can often outperform any other breed in harness or under saddle.
The Trakehner breed was heavily influenced by infusions of English Thoroughbred. Although generally more level-headed and healthier than Thoroughbreds, you still need to keep in mind that many Trakehner can get very easily excited and may be hard to settle down. In the show ring, having an excited horse is often a good thing. But outside of the show ring, you want to be sure that your horse is safe and not liable to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat (literally or metaphorically).
Trakehner should be treated with the same care and attention as Thoroughbreds, even if you have never seen your Trakehner fly into a sudden panic. You still don’t want to tempt fate by being too casual or making and abrupt movements around your Trakehner. You might be tempted to pull some stunts with them such as riding inside of a barn or walking underneath their bellies, but these pranks can scare your horse.
You never want to be right next to or underneath of a scared horse.
Although there are placid and trustworthy Trakehners, you don’t hear about them much. The most famous Trakehner have bright eyes and are pulling at the bit to get going and conquer the world. Trakehner have done well in Olympic events such as dressage, which requires a horse with precision and grace. They have also done notably well in show jumping, which requires intelligent, brave horses to tackle any goofy looking obstacle in front of them.
Trakehner have done well in other horse sports, such as carriage driving events such as combined driving. Trakehner have also excelled at trail riding, plowing the fields as a farmer’s horse and hunting. Trakehner also can be readily trained for Western riding, although they are not the breed of choice for most Western disciplines. Trakehner have also been considered nimble and intelligent enough to be used as police horses, with some black and dark bay Trakehner serving the world famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Horse rescue organizations often note than when a Trakehner is given up, it is often for a reason that is not the horse’s fault. If you go to Petfinder.com, there is a list of breeds available for adoption. The Trakehner is not on the list.
“Storey’s Illustrated Guide to 96 Horse Breeds of North America.” Judith Dutson. Storey Publishing, 2005.
“International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds.” Bonnie Hendricks. University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.
“The Ultimate Horse Book.” Elwyn Hartley Edwards. Dorling Kindersley; 1991.
American Trakenher Associaton. “The Trakenher Breed and the Thoroughbred.” http://www.americantrakehner.com/the%20breed/TBInfluence.htm
The International Museum of the Horse. “1900 – The Horse in Transition: Royal Canadian Mounted Police.” http://imh.org/legacy-of-the-horse/royal-canadian-mounted-police/
Personal experience with Trakenhers.