Senner Horses
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About Senner HorsesAbout Senner Horses



Senner, or Senne, horses are a critically-endangered German ridingrnhorse. They are believed to be the oldest saddle-horse breed in Germany, and arerndocumented at least as far back as 1160. They are named for the Senne, arnnatural region of dunes and moorland in Nordrhein-Westfalen, in westernrnGermany, and live in feral herds there and in the Teutoburger Forest to therneast.rnrn 

rnrnSenner horses were bred principally as a riding horse, evenrnin times when working horses were in demand; they were also used as a carriagernhorse. Senner stallions stood at the royal stud of Weil bei Esslingen inrnBaden-Wurttemberg and at the state stud of Lipizza in the Austrian Empire.rnToday, they are competition or recreational riding.rnrn 

rnrnThey are warmblooded and have been influenced at variousrntimes by Arab, Anglo-Arab, Thoroughbred, and Iberian stock. They may haverncontributed to development of Hanoverian horses.rnrn 

rnrnThe origins of the Senner are not known; many records of thernhistory of the breed were destroyed by fire in 1945. Herds of feral horses in thernSenne moorlands are documented in several Mediaeval sources, one of which datesrnfrom 1160. The Senne lay within the Principality of Lippe, and the horses werernraised to provide mounts for the ruling Lippe family. The center of breedingrnwas at Detmold until 1680, when it was moved to the stables of the JagdschlossrnLopshorn (de) near Augustdorf. The horses were kept all year round on thernheathland of the Senne and in the neighbouring Teutoburger Forest. Numbers werernnever very high; the number of breeding mares averaged about forty. Breedingrnrecords were kept from the early years of the eighteenth century, and arnstud-book started in 1713. There were four dam lines in the breed; only one ofrnthese, dating to 1725, survives.rnrn 

rnrnFrom the late seventeenth century, some Arab blood wasrnintroduced; English Anglo-Arab and Thoroughbred blood was introduced towardsrnthe end of the eighteenth century. In the early twentieth century, after thernFirst World War, there was some addition of Andalusian blood.rnrn 

rnrnThe Lopshorn castle was destroyed by fire in 1945. In 1946rnthe remaining Senner stock was dispersed to various owners. In 1999, some werernintroduced to the Moosheide nature reserve to assist in conservation grazing.rnrn 

rnrnIn 2007 the FAO listed the conservation status of the Sennerrnas "critical". In the Rote Liste of the Gesellschaft zur Erhaltungrnalter und gefahrdeter Haustierrassen, they are listed in Category I, "extremely endangered". In 2015 the total breeding population wasrnreported at twenty-five head - nineteen mares and six stallions.rnrn 

rnrnThey are found in bay and grey; black and chestnut also occur.rnSome horses show primitive markings including a dorsal stripe andrnzebra-striping on the legs.

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