In April 2005, the horse breeders from Saxony and Thuringia merged into one association. Besides numerous successful sport horses, the offspring sets accents.
The history of horse breeding in the geographical area of today's States of Thuringia and Saxony can be traced back through written reports to the 5th century CE. When the Thuringian king Herminafrid married, he had to send "Thuringian steeds of silver color" to the Ostrogoth king Theoderich as the purchase price for the bride. In the 8th century, a heavy horse breed was already used to breed strong knight horses. It is reported that at that time Spaniards owned not only noble horses but also heavier horses, which were bred from imported stallions and mares from Saxony and Thuringia.
From about the 900 CE onwards, breeding was characterized by the foundation of stud farms by the ruling dynasties, in the early days primarily by so-called game stud farms. The largest number of manorial studs was established in the first half of the 17th century. These included the stud farms in Allstedt, Georgenthal, Hainleite, Salzungen, Altenstein, Neuhaus a.R., Rodach, Vessra, Wendelstein, Merseburg, Bleesern, Paudritzsch, Zella, Kalkreuth, Bohrschütz and Stolpen. In 1722 the Saxon Elector August the Strong founded the court stud farm Graditz with its outposts Repitz, Döhlen, Neu-Bläsern and Kreyschau. The court stud farm attained an outstanding importance and formed the basis of horse breeding until after the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the division of Saxony as a result of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, with priority given to the royal stables. The first beginnings of a state stud began with the provision of stallions from the court studs for the mares of the peasants. In Saxony, a country stud farm was established around 1800 in Annaburg near Jessen. Due to the division of Saxony and the loss of the Graditz court stud and the Annaburg state stud to Prussia, King Anton of Saxony decided in 1828 to establish a state stud in the hunting stables of Moritzburg Castle. In the regionally limited Thuringian principalities and, from 1920, the State of Thuringia, state horse breeding was essentially secured by rural and later increasingly cooperative stallion keeping. Since the 1920s, this form of stallion provision dominated. From 1957 onwards, Thuringia was also provided with state stud stallions for breeders at the newly founded Stotternheim state stud near Erfurt, which initially belonged to the Halle Kreuz state stud. From 1961 onwards, the stallion provision occurred directly via the state stud in Moritzburg. Since 1994, based on an administrative agreement between the States of Saxony and Thuringia, the supply of Thuringian breeders with state stud stallions has been ensured by the Moritzburg state stud. In addition, passionate private stallion owners in Saxony and Thuringia with a wide range of high quality stallions are now closely integrated into the association's (net-) work.
In 1920 and 1921, the Regional Association of Saxonian Horse Breeders and the Regional Association of Thuringian Horse Breeders were founded respectively.These associations determined the level of horse breeding in the two states until the middle of the 20th century. With the seizure of power by the National Socialists, the state associations had to be dissolved and the newly founded Horse Stud Books were transferred to the “Reichsnährstand” of the state farmers' associations [The Reichsnährstand was a government body set up by National Socialists in 1933 to regulate food production.].
After World War II, the associations, which were just starting to work again, were again forced to dissolve and were transferred to the State Animal Breeding Organization of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). In 1969, the Central Office for Horse Breeding was formed as a specialized body, and from this time until the end of the GDR, the Thuringian and Saxon breeders were looked after by the Horse Breeding Directorate South. The breeding management was located in Weimar and Dresden and the former stallion depot in Moritzburg secured the provision of stallions. Only the pony stallions were in privately owned.
Because of the political change in 1990, the former horse breeding associations were newly founded on a democratic basis according to the will of the breeders. Thus, on 13th July 1990, the Association of Thuringian Horse Breeders was founded, and on 14th July 1990, the Horse Breeding Association of Saxony was founded. Both associations were already working closely together in many areas at that time. In order to bundle the possibilities for the benefit of the breeders, it was obvious to merge the two organizations into a powerful larger association. The breeders decided in favour of this union and on 16th April 2005, the Horse Breeding Association Saxony-Thuringia was born. Today's association, with sufficient size, has up-to-date structures that can guarantee the most comprehensive individual support possible for each individual breeder. The breeding organization has approximately 4,000 members/breeders who work together in 30 regional breeding clubs. For the specific implementation of the breeding programmes of the individual breeds, breed parliaments have been formed, in which each breeder has a say. In the association, there are currently about 5,000 breeding horses distributed among 30 different breeds. The German Sport Horse has the largest breeding population in both states with approx.1,200 mares, followed by the Heavy Warmbloods with about 900 mares. These are followed by: 300 draft horses, 400 Haflingers, 200 riding ponies and 1,000 Shetland ponies, as well as 300 mares of other special horse breeds. The German Sport Horse is part of a larger population, which the Working Group of the South German Horse Breeding Associations manages within a joint breeding programme.
The association invests a lot in the area of young breeders' promotion. This has paid off in form of multiple successes at national and international competitions. For instance in 2004, the Thuringian team won both the Southern German and the German national young breeders' competitions. The Saxon young breeders won the Southern German competition in 2001, 2002 and 2004 and were able to win the young breeders' competition in Verden in 2001, which was organized by the World Breeding Federation of Sporthorses (WBFSH). Since 2006, the Horse Breeding Association Saxony-Thuringia e.V. has been competing as a joint team and retrieved German championship titles in 2013, 2014 and 2019. The team also successfully competed in the World Championships in 2011, 2015 and 2019. Furthermore, the association always makes an effort to gather the young breeders from all over Germany in the breeding area. In 2016, the South German Young Breeders Competition was held in Moritzburg and in 2018, the Federal Young Breeders Competition took place in Graditz. This fostered potential of young, enthusiastic horse breeders ensures that the states’ horse breeding is placed into good hands in the future.
Breeders of talented young horses receive selective support through a training support fund of the Horse Breeders Association and the support associations in Saxony (SFP) as well as in Thuringia (TFP). The aim is to offer talented young horses optimal training and highly qualified riders. At the same time, young riders are promoted with the possibilities of the promotion associations, who are then in turn successfully represented supra-regionally with the horses from the breeding area.
In the area of events and marketing, the Horse Breeding Association Saxony-Thuringia e.V. works closely with the associations of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Rhineland-Pfalz-Saar and Brandenburg-Anhalt, which are united in the Working Group of Southern German Horse Breeding Associations. As part of this cooperation, the Southern German Stallion Days have been held in Munich since 2004 with great success. The association members gladly use the annual riding horse championships in southern Germany and the foal auctions at several locations as well as the Marbach riding horse auctions as platforms for the presentation and marketing of their horses.
The cooperation between the associations has constantly expanded in recent years for the benefit of the breeders and today includes joint licensing for all breeds. On its own, the association organizes the regional mare book, the offspring evaluations and foal shows, the annual mare and foal championships as well as the performance tests for breeding horses. As a special highlight, the association, together with the Saxon Stud Administration and the Saxon Equestrian Association, has been organizing the Federal Championships for Heavy Warmbloods since 2003, the German Driving Pony Championships since 2005, and the Federal Driving Horse Championships in August at the state stud's facilities since 2019. Every year at the end of November, the spotlight is on the Moritzburg Stallion Days, where the licensing of young stallions of the breed Saxon-Thuringian Heavy Warmblood takes place.
In the future, the topics of public relations, marketing and customer services will become even more important. This seems necessary in order to be able to meet the increasing competitive pressure on the horse market in the future. Then this association will remain as attractive as ever for breeders and will continue to be the home of horse breeders from Saxony and Thuringia.