Horse breeding in Germany has a long tradition
After breeding studs were first founded in the 19th century, as an initial approach to breeding planning, associations started to form amongst breeders working on a regional level, out of which breeding associations then developed. In the past, breeding associations worked within the territory of each federal state, with further support from the Republic of Germany. As a result of the amendment of the Animal Breeding Act in 2006/2007, the geographical boundaries of the breeding associations' activities have changed considerably. Many breeding associations have expanded their 'working area', as the zootechnical legislation now defines the area of activity as the area in which the breeding programme is conducted and in which members have their place of business.
The breeding associations are organised under private law and are autonomous within the regulatory framework of the Animal Breeding Act. Each breeding association - including its studbook regulations and breeding programme - must be recognised by the state, and its operations are reviewed by the recognition authorities. The conditions for state recognition are regulated by the Animal Breeding Act. As part of the formation of the European Union, national animal breeding legislation is becoming increasingly influenced by EU law.
Functions of the breeding associations are multiple
Breeding associations essentially perform the following tasks:
Management of the studbooks
- Identification of breeding animals
- Issuing of passports and breeding certificates
- Development and implementation of breeding programmes
- Selection of breeding animals
- Organisation and execution of performance tests
- Consultation with breeders
Sales & Marketing
- Organisation and staging of sales events
- Advertising and PR/Marketing
The decentralised work of the breeding associations requires a coordination of all activities on a wider scale. This work is done by the Breeding section of the German Equestrian Federation (the FN), which also represents the interests of the breed societies towards governmental agencies as well as other national and international organisations. Currently, 25 state-approved horse, pony and small horse breeding associations are members of the German Equestrian Federation.
Breed diversity in Germany
German riding horse breeding includes the following breeds: German Sporthorse, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, Oldenburg International (OS), Rhineland, Trakehner, Westphalian, German Horse, German Edelblut ("noble blood", a relatively new breed of part-bred Arabians with at least 12.5% Arab blood).
The field of pony and small horse breeding in Germany is characterised by a large diversity of breeds and a variety of organisations. In total, more than 130 breeds are cared for in Germany.
The German Equestrian Federation (FN) uniquely combines both sport and breeding under one roof, which promotes close cooperation between these areas.