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Horses and Men in Westphalia

1.000 square meters of exhibition space are dedicated to the natural and cultural history of the horse in Westphalia along with an array of other subjects on the horse.

Horse and Men

The horse in 50,000,000 years: A model according to the drawings of the scientist Dougal Dixion shows the horse of the future. The horse 50,000,000 years ago: The original fossil of the Messeler prehistoric horse and archaeological findings take the visitor on a journey back in time. Why and how did the appearance and the way of life of horses change over the course of millions of years?

Well-proportioned and Misshapen

The vision of the 'perfect' horse has occupied mankind for a long time. But what characterizes a perfect horse? The exhibition shows century-old ideas of the 'well-proportioned' and 'misshapen' horse as well as the preserved body of Polydor, one of the most successful stallions of our time. Together, they reflect the varied relationship between man and horse.

Unbroken and fenced in

The true wild horse is extinct in Europe. The wild horses of today still roam freely but not without influence from humans. This part of the exhibition provides insights into the preserves of Westphalia in which the Westphalian horse breeding has its roots. Today the Dülmener herd is the only proof of the once varied herds of wild horses of Merfelder Bruch. Unique exhibits representing Emscherbrücher horses which died out in the 19th century, remind us of the times of the traditional horse catching in Westphalia.

Nature and Manner

What does a horse see and taste? How intelligent is it? How much sleep does it need? This part of the exhibition answers these and further questions. Beginning with the behavioral traits of the horse, the visitor experiences the world from a horse's perspective. A 'horse in slices' displays the anatomy of the horse. In a light-hearted 'human-horse' comparison, the visitor learns about the uniqueness of the anatomy of the horse and thus gains a better understanding of this living creature.

Ideals and Potential

Westphalia has produced an unusually high number of successful horses suited for sports. But what is behind the business of 'breeding'? The exhibition looks behind the scenes of regional as well as independent studs and further presents documentation on pedigree history. Methods of successful breeding are shown in their historical context: from natural to artificial fertilization.

Gains and Losses

In circuses, in the field, at war, or down in the mines: Horses were indispensable. At the beginning of the last century, mail carriages typified the everyday town scene. With increasing motorization after World War II, horses became superfluous. The picture of a mining horse, fastened in a harness and ready for the transport into the mine, reminds us of the extreme conditions under which horses often had to work and live.

Horses and Riders

Westphalia has more than 500 riding clubs and is considered to be a major center for equestrian sports. This section of the exhibition gives an overview of the many disciplines making horse riding so fascinating. At interactive “saddle stations” visitors can experience how firm they are in the saddle. Computer animations link the interaction between horse and rider and thus provide a taste of the art of horse riding.

Westphalian Olymp

Stockholm, 1956: The unforgettable story of how Halla carried the injured Hans-Günter Winkler over the fences to Olympic gold. The 'Hall of Fame' honors Westphalia's top riders and top horses. Medals, personal objects, and film clips restore the spirit of Olympia. They tell stories of successes and the glory that go hand in hand with these riders and horses.