The orgional brandmark of Trakehnen
The Canadian Trakehner brand
A freshly branded foal
The German brand
The ATA brand
The Dansih brand
The brand used in Great Britain
There are many more Trakehner brands derived from the German East Prussian
Warmblood brand used by countries with their own Trakehner Associations
The origin of our Canadian Trakehner Breed is Trakehnen. Trakehnen is
a place in East Prussia near the Lithuanian border. The main stud (Hauptgestüt)
encompassed some 15,000 acres of land which was largely recovered land from
existing swamps and wetlands. Many drainage canals were constructed through
the land beginning in 1732. The last private owner was King Frederick the
Great, who considered himself as the "first servant" of his country
asking the same from his people. English and French historians called him
"the Great" first. In his will King Frederick decreed that Trakehnen
would become the property of the state to be used for the production of breeding
stock, mainly stallions, for the warmblood breeders in East Prussia. Only
"pure gold" was to be kept as breeding stock in Trakehnen. The most
capable horsemen of their time were working in Trakehnen.
Visitors from around the world have called Trakehnen a paradise for horses; it was a unique place developed over the centuries. 1200 people (including their families) lived there handling over a thousand horses and other livestock, as well as looking after the fields. The most valuable TB stallions, some from the stables of the King of England and Arabian stallions of the best quality were purchased for Trakehnen to improve the local breed, the Schweiken horse.
All horses born in Trakehnen were branded since 1787 with a single antler on the right hind quarter as identification of their birthplace. That was the only reason! In the tradition of King Frederick the government servants were expected to consider it an honour to ride and work with these noble horses for the good of the country. It was obvious to visitors that the standards in Trakehnen were very high, setting an example for other such institutions.
In 1888 the warmblood horses of East Prussian farmers had reached such good quality that they were given their own studbook registration rights, their own brand, the double antler, to indicate their origin, East Prussia. These horses were branded on the left hind quarter. Horses who did not reach 154 cm in height or did not have at least 4 generations of approved Trakehner stallions in their pedigree were branded with the single antler with a crown above it. The very famous stallion Dampfross was wearing such a brand; his grandmother had been purchased from a dealer without any papers, supposedly lost.
Trakehnen and the province of East Prussia were devastated by the red army at the end of World War II. Its people, if not killed now live in all parts of the world, but mostly in West Germany. They collected the horses that survived and started all over again. True horse people will never give up! Some of the 360 broodmares from Trakehnen were taken to safety in the province of Mecklenburg. But when the Russians took over that province after the war, according to the Allied Agreement, an overnight rescue operation was initiated with the help and permission of an American Army general, much like Patton's rescue operation of the famous Lippizan horses. Thus 27 mares were taken to the West.
Today we have descendants of these horses here in Canada and the USA. Some of the stallions that go back to those mares are Schwalbenherbst, Indus, Gero, Polarmond, Polifax, Donauwind, Koree, Kenner and others. Other stallions and mares go back to the East Prussian warmblood lines.
After the war Dr. Schilke considered the East Prussian mares (800 had survived) and the 27 mares from Trakehnen of similar quality. For simplification they were all branded with the double antler in West Germany. These horses are all referred to as the "East Prussian Warmblood of Trakehner Origin", in short, the Trakehner.
Our Canadian Trakehner brand was designed by former East Prussian farmers, now farming and raising Trakehner horses in Canada. The Canadian brand incorporates the antler of Trakehnen combined with a "C" indicating Canadian, the brand being applied to the left hind quarter. There is an unwritten agreement that the Trakehner brand on the right hind quarter will no longer be used. Only in the event that Trakehnen should be re-established would that brand be applied again.
When the first branding iron was ready to be used Mr. Dietrich von Lenski, former president of the German Trakehner Verband while visiting Ontario had an opportunity to see our brand and branding iron. As a native of East Prussia from the vicinity of Trakehnen, he recognized the brandmark of Trakehnen, but had no objection of our using it in our brand. He gave us good advice with regards to branding techniques. After unanimous approval of this brand at the General Membership Meeting it was registered with the trademark office in Ottawa in 1984.
Using this brand from Trakehnen we are commited to the highest standards that are symbolized by this brand. We are committed to the history, the idealism and dedication of the breeders of East Prussia who have provided us with this great horse: the Trakehner. We, as breeders in Canada, as members of the CTHS, as directors of this organization continue this legacy; we are all servants of the cause and stewards of this great breed.