In 1735, George II, elector of Hanover, issued a royal decree to set up a public stud (Landegestuet) to promote horse breeding and improve the quality of the farm-bred horses. Twelve stallions suitable for “high school” and carriage driving were imported and the Celle state stud was set up. The first covering stations were developed in 1736.
An official Hanoverian Warmblood Studbook was established by the Royal Agricultural Society in 1888.
In 1899 the Chamber of Agriculture took over responsibility for the studbook until 1922, when it passed these duties on to the Verband Hannoverscher Warmblutzüchter (the Society of Hanoverian Warmblood Breeders), which came into existence that same year and is still the governing body today.
The “Verband” was the result of the unification of fifty-four local breeding clubs with a combined membership of more than 10,500, to co-ordinate their activities for the good of all. These local clubs still exist today and are the main pillars of the Verband.
Although the Celle State Stud and the Hannoveraner Verband work together in close cooperation, they are in fact separate entities. As its name implies, the State Stud at Celle is a state owned enterprise, while the Hannoveraner Verband is a private corporation.
The breeding of Hanoverians in New Zealand began in 1977 when a small group of enthusiastic breeders established a connection with the Hanoverian Verband in Germany.
New Zealand’s reputation as a world-class producer of thoroughbreds convinced the officials of the Verband to allow New Zealand breeders to use high-quality thoroughbred mares as the foundation for the New Zealand Hanoverian.
A syndicate was formed and New Zealand’s first Hanoverian stallion, Winnebago, was imported from Germany, arriving here in February 1977. German Inspectors traveled to New Zealand and Australia to inspect and classify the foundation Thoroughbred mares for admission into the New Zealand Hanoverian Studbook. The Hanoverian Society of New Zealand Incorporated, a daughter society of the Verband Hanoverscher Warmblutzutcher e.v. of Hannover, West Germany, was formed.
Eric Ropiha and Eric White were trained in Germany to be our first New Zealand classifiers.
As a daughter society of the Verband we gained international recognition for our pedigrees, access to Verband breeding values and data, and the maintenance of the highest Hanoverian standards through inspection visits from Verband officials. We administer our own Studbook, established according to the Verband guidelines.
Since the arrival of Winnebago, 12 more Licensed and Performance tested Hanoverian breeding stallions have been imported into New Zealand. The Hanoverian mare pool has expanded with the use of female Hanoverian descendants from the original foundation Thoroughbred mares, and also with the importing of Hanoverian mares. In recent times the use of imported frozen semen has given our breeders access to some of the same stallions used by German breeders.