Trotters - nimble racehorses with quite versatile talent

It is quite impressive what trotters achieve in a horse race, including sulky and driver. They give everything and reach 45 - 50 km/h at the trot. Some of our private horses can't even do that at a gallop.

Of course, racing is very demanding. Not only speed and ambition are required here, but also a stable nervous system. That is why the trotter relies on a special selection. However, this also makes the speedster interesting as a leisure horse far away from the trotting track.

Briefly explained:

The term trotter refers to horses bred purely for driving racing. In other words, horse breeds that have exactly the required characteristics for these horse races.

These would be, for example:

The German Trotter, the American Standardbred, the Trotteur Francais from France and the fancy Orlov Trotter horse from Russia.

But let's now take a closer look at the racehorse itself. Surely you are curious where the concentrated power for such a strenuous trotting race comes from, aren't you?

Historical origins and breeding

The modern trotting horses you see on the trotting track are the result of a very goal-oriented performance breeding. In those days, particularly powerful carriage horses were bred and the first races were nothing more than breeding performance tests that had to be passed.

The modern trotting horses that you can see on the trotting track are the result of a very goal-oriented performance breeding.

In those days, particularly powerful carriage horses were bred and the first races were nothing more than breeding performance tests that had to be passed.

Today, the animals are bred exclusively for the racetrack. Whereby the German breeding has a lot of shares from the American side. The American Standardbreds are simply among the fastest on the track and bring enormous ambition to the breeding. It is one of several American horse breeds that can also go tölt and pass. That is why there are so many races in America in exactly these gaits.

So it is not surprising that even our trotters can have a predisposition to tölt/pass. A convenient thing and certainly not uninteresting for later use as a leisure horse.

Not to forget the cross-breeding of English thoroughbreds, which gave the trotters their bite and visual elegance.

Since 1896, the German trotter breed has been recorded in a special stud book. At the moment there are about 2500 broodmares and about 300 stallions in the German Main Association for Trotting Breeding and Racing (HVT). The HVT is based in Kaarst in North Rhine-Westphalia. Its task is to supervise and promote breeding, to organise and supervise races and to organise performance tests.

The Trotter Stud Book now has about 35,000 registered horses.

The external characteristics of a trotter

The pure bred trotter horse covers the pony and large horse measurements equally. From approx. 1.48 - 1.75 cm everything is represented.

The thoroughbred part already shows in the appearance of the animals. The head is dry, straight and has wide nostrils.

Remarkable features of this type of racehorse are the rather less muscular neck, the wide outgoing forehand thanks to a fitting shoulder position, the narrow rump and the well muscled croup and hindquarters. With the latter and the steeper fetlocking of the animals, the immense thrust in trot is only possible. Hard limbs, sound hooves and straight gaits are further basic requirements of the conformation.

As far as colour is concerned, mainly browns with a dark coat, chestnuts or blacks are found in this breed. Grey horses are rarer. Markings are also rare.

The inner values

A well-balanced, friendly and courageous character with good nerves has always been important for breeding. After all, the animals had to cope with the stress of trotting races. After all, the work in front of the sulky is not without its challenges. The horse must be easy to train and have a lot of ambition. As in equestrian sport, the trotting horse should be cooperative, willing to learn and persevering. These are qualities that will definitely benefit the horse in its later years as a leisure horse.


Of course, thanks to special breeding selection procedures, absolutely a champion for horse racing with the cart. But also in equestrian sport one hears again and again what these nimble little horses can achieve. Especially in endurance riding, the enduring beauties are well established. Western, show jumping, dressage and leisure riders can indeed also tell a lot of positive things about the tough racing horses. However - not without fair and understanding groundwork!

When the animals come from the track, they often first have to undergo sensitive training to become riding horses.

As you surely know, gallop is not used in racing. Not that the horses can't do it. It's just that it's not encouraged in the beginning and is not wanted in competitions anyway.

Therefore, a trained hand is needed to teach the fast, trotting horse breeds to run in a relaxed manner at all gaits. Unlike in equestrian sport, the racing trotter runs via leashes, whips and commands. But if he has been "professionally coordinated", he can be ridden just as beautifully as any other little horse.

After all the pressure to perform, he has earned it.

Horse racing becomes equestrian sport, racehorse becomes beloved dream horse.

That's how it should be!

Animalon's brush recommendation for the nimble trotter:

For this great horse breed we recommend our Care Flex massage currycomb. The currycomb is great for these sensitive horses. It not only brushes off the dirt, but also provides a pleasant massage.

With our Lammbkin glove you give your favourite the final touch - because it makes your horse's coat shine.

So nothing stands in the way of your glory!