The Senner horse, Germany’s oldest saddle-horse breed, is critically endangered. Documented since 1160, it originates from the Senne region in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. This breed is renowned for its versatility as a riding horse and its role in conservation grazing.
The Senner’s origins are shrouded in mystery, with many historical records lost in a 1945 fire. However, medieval documents mention feral herds in the Senne as early as 1160. Initially bred to serve the Lippe family, the breed was influenced by Arabian, Anglo-Arab, Thoroughbred, and Iberian stock over centuries.Genetic analysis revealed a unique maternal DNA line linking them with certain Arabian thoroughbreds, suggesting ancient connections to the Arabian region well before systematic stud book records began in 1713.
Senner horses are of Anglo-Arabian type and noted for their exceptional versatility and robustness, with an average height of 158 to 167 cm and capable of displaying all coat colors. Their adaptability to various environments and tasks makes them invaluable in both agriculture and recreational sports.
Traditionally, Senner horses were utilized for a range of tasks from farming to riding. Today, they are particularly valued for leisure riding and driving, and landscape maintenance due to their endurance and friendly nature.
With less than 100 registered animals, the Senner breed is critically endangered. Conservation efforts are focused on preserving their genetic diversity and promoting their unique characteristics. The population development shows a slow increase in the total number of Senner horses from 41 in 2009 to 58 in 2022 and 2023. The number of mares and stallions capable of breeding remains relatively stable, with slight fluctuations in the number of covered mares and live foals each year.
Senner Pferd — Senne
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