By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 15, 2009

The Hessen is a very popular German horse breed, evident in its frequent use in equestrian competitions. Taking care of the regal Hessen, however, can be a challenge.


Physical Characteristics


The Hessen horse breed has a strongly-built body and well-proportioned withers and croup, making it especially suitable for riding. It has a regal gait, true to early records stating that the Hessen was actually meant for royalty. In general, Hessen horses have chestnut- and bay-colored coats.


Personality and Temperament


What makes the Hessen horse breed ideal for equestrian competitions and draft-riding is its temperament. It is usually composed and easy to train; it is also focused and highly trainable. Not easily agitated, the Hessen horse breed makes for a good mount.




Taking care of a Hessen horse can be difficult, depending on the geographic location. The environment must be suitable to the Hessen horse’s nature. The fodder must be able to adequately nourish the Hessen horse, inasmuch as its growth and development will rely on it.


History and Background


The history of the Hessen horse breed is both long and detailed. The breed is the result of crossbreeding many different horses, including extinct ones, for generations. Its name is derived from Hessia, Germany, from which it originated.


Early records show that in Reinhardswalk, Germany, horses were bred in isolation. These horses, according to formal sources, were sturdy, fast and enduring. They were first crossbred with the likes of the Prussian and English stallions. This produced the early breed characterized by a lean, medium-size body and impressive endurance.


The importance of the Hessen horses in Germany continued, until the advent of motor vehicles as the main means of transport. After this, Hessen horses’ purposes were switched mainly to draft work and riding. They were also used more for farming than for traveling and intense riding.


Even now, the Hessen breed is intensively used in farms throughout Germany. It is also more highly valued now in sports and equestrian competitions.


The hard breeding conditions in the Hessian hills guarantee superb health and a long life. Owners of a horse raised in the Hessen can be assured that such a horse will thrive. The advice from the network of studs concerning breeding was and is still being taken very seriously by Hessian breeders. Today it is evident at international horse shows that the advice was effective and successful.

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