Holsteiners are medium-framed horses averaging between 16 and 17 hands high (64 to 68 inches (163 to 173 cm)) at the withers. Approved stallions must be a minimum of 16hh and mares a minimum of 15.2hh (62 inches (157 cm)).The type, or general appearance, exhibited by Holsteiners should be that of an athletic riding horse. As a breed, Holsteiners are known for their arched, rather high-set necks and powerful hindquarters. The heavy neck was perpetuated even in modern Holsteiners with the help of Ladykiller xx and his son, Landgraf. In centuries past, Holsteiners retained the hallmark Roman nose of the Baroque horse, but today it has been replaced by a smaller head with a large, intelligent eye. These conformational characteristics give most Holsteiners good balance and elegant movement.
Before the onset of mechanization, these horses were used in agriculture, as coach horses and occasionally for riding. The closed stud book and careful preservation of female family lines has ensured that in an era of globalization, the horses of Holstein have a unique character. While the active gaits, arched neck, and attractive manner in harness of the early foundation bloodstock has been retained, the breed survived because of the willingness of its breeders to conform to changing market demands. The high-headed jump and leg faults were corrected with supple, basculing jumping technique and structurally correct improvement sires. The past 15 or 20 years have seen even more pronounced refinement and aesthetic appeal.