What is a Hanoverian?

Hanoverians are horses of predominantly Hanoverian descent, which are bred according to the breeding regulations of the Verband Hannoverscher Warmblutzuchter e.V. (VHW) – the Hanoverian Warmblood Breeders Association in Germany.

They are registered with and have pedigree papers issued by, either the NZHS, the Verband, or any other Hanoverian Society that is recognized by the Verband, and are therefore eligible to wear the trademark registered Hanoverian brand.

In order for a horse to be eligible for Hanoverian birth registration and branding, both parents must have earned breeding approval from the authorizing body of the German Hanoverian Verband or one of its daughter societies. However, birth-branded Hanoverians are not automatically eligible to be used for breeding registered stock. Both stallions and mares must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for entry into the breeding Studbook. Rigorous selection procedures for stallions ensure that only those that meet the criteria will gain breeding approval. Mares in all Hanoverian breeding countries, including New Zealand, must undergo appraisal and classification by authorized inspectors.

The registration of a foal must take place in accordance with the society’s studbook regulations and the brand be applied before the foal is weaned.

The modern Hanoverian horse originates from the Hanover breeding area in Germany and is a product of decades of stringent selection of breeding stock, with the objective of continually improving correctness, athleticism and temperament in the offspring.

Originally, in keeping with the times, the horses were used in war, in agriculture, and as riding and carriage horses. As war, farming and transport became mechanized, the purpose of the horses changed, and they needed to be more suitable for pleasure and sport. Judicious introduction of Thoroughbred, Arab, Trakehner and Holstein bloodlines, has brought us the modern Hanoverian, more refined, more elegant, more rideable than his ancestors, yet inheriting their courage, power and athleticism.

Today, the Hanoverian breeding area is the largest in Europe and has spread to include daughter societies in all corners of the globe. However, it originated in Lower Saxony, where horses have been bred since ancient times.