Warmblood Horse Breeds

Learn About Warmblood Horses

Learn About Warmblood Horse Breeds

Warmbloods are a group of middle-weight horse types and breeds primarily originating in Europe and registered with organizations that are characterized by open studbook and the aim of breeding for equestrian sport. Open studbook policies separate most warmbloods from true “breeds” such as Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Percherons, and Morgans which have a closed stud book and require two purebred parents. Instead, most warmblood registries accept breeding stock from other similar populations to continuously improve their own, and do not consider their own horses to be a discrete “breed”. The Trakehner is an exception, as although some other breeds are used within the breeding population, this horse is considered a true breed. The Hanoverian, Holsteiner, and Selle Français studbooks are also considered slightly less open than others.

Jumping horse
Each registry has a slightly different focus, but most breed primarily for show jumping and dressage. Many include combined driving and eventing as well.

The best-known German warmbloods are the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg and the purebred Trakehner. Others include the Württemberger, Rhinelander, Westphalian, Zweibrücker, Brandenburger, Mecklenburger, and Bavarian Warmblood. Several of these breeds are also represented by ancestral types such as the Ostfriesen and Alt-Oldenburger, Alt-Württemberger, and Rottaler.

Western European warmbloods include the French Selle Français, Belgian Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood, Swiss Warmblood, Austrian Warmblood and Danish Warmblood. Scandinavian countries also produce high-quality warmbloods such as the Finnish Warmblood and Swedish Warmblood.

Warmblood registries which are not based in continental Europe include those that regulate the breeding of American Warmbloods and Irish Sport Horses. (source)

Warmblood Horses Explained

All horses are warm-blooded mammals, but also can be classified by their temperaments. Arabian and Thoroughbred horses fall into the hot blood category because they are usually more sensitive and high strung than other breeds of horses. Cold blood horses include the draft breeds such as Shires, Clydestales, Percherons and even Friesians. These large and sturdy breeds have been bred for agricultural work and chosen for their calm temperaments.

Warmblood Graphic

Warmblood horse are a cross between the hot blood and cold blood breeds. They usually have calmer temperaments than thoroughbreds and Arabians, and have more athletic ability than their cold blooded ancestors. They are used today for dressage, jumping, eventing and driving.

Warmblood Horse Breeds

Examples of Warmblood Horses

Bavarian Warmblood

The easiest way to recognize a Bavarian Warmblood is by the brand on the left thigh, which is a crowned shield outside the letter “B”. All coat colors are permitted, though dark, solid colors are preferred.

Bavarian Warmbloods are similar to other German warmbloods in type, conformation, movement, jumping ability and interior qualities. Desirable type includes an elegant, attractive horse with dry limbs and head and clear sex expression. Conformation reflects the stamp of a correct sport horse. Correct movement includes three rhythmic gaits characterized by energy, a long stride, natural self-carriage and elasticity, with some knee action. Selection processes aim for enthusiastic, capable jumpers with “bascule” (arc over the fence), “scope” (ability to respond to changes in the environment), and “tact” (carefully pulling the legs out of the way). Horses that are difficult, nervous, or aggressive are identified and typically are not allowed to breed.

Breeding stallions and mares are chosen by thorough studbook selection, which eliminates horses that do not fit the breeding goal from the breeding studbooks. The Bavarian Warmblood is by no means set in type and recognizable the way that breeds from closed studbooks are; instead, they are recognizable by their athletic ability and temperament. (source)

Public Domain, Link

Height:

15.2 – 16.2 hands

Origin:

Germany (south)

Foundation Breeds:

Rottaler, Anglo-Norman, Cleveland Bay & Oldenburg

Bavarian Warmblood Brand

Hanoverian

The Hanoverian is a warmblood horse breed often seen in the Olympic Games and other competitive English riding styles, and has won gold medals in all three equestrian Olympic competitions. It is one of the oldest, most numerous, and most successful of the warmbloods. Originally a carriage horse, infusions of Thoroughbred blood lightened it to make it more agile and useful for competition. The Hanoverian is known for a good temperament, athleticism, beauty, and grace. (source)

By Craig Maccubbin – originally posted to Flickr as Clearing the gate, CC BY 2.0, Link

Height:

15.3 – 17.2 hands

Origin:

Germany

Foundation Breeds:

Holsteiner, Thoroughbred, Cleveland Bay, Neapolitan, Andalusian, Prussian, & Mecklenburg

Hanoverian Brand

Selle Français

The Selle Français (SF) is a breed of sport horse from France. It is renowned primarily for its success in show jumping, but many have also been successful in dressage and eventing. An athletic horse with good gaits, it is usually bay or chestnut in color. The Selle Français was created in 1958 when several French riding horse breeds were merged into one stud book. The new breed was meant to serve as a unified sport horse during a period when horses were being replaced by mechanization and were transforming into an animal used mainly for sport and leisure. (source)

By EponimmOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Height:

16 – 16.3 hands

Origin:

France

Foundation Breeds:

Anglo-Norman, Charolais, Thoroughbred, Anglo-Arabian, French Trotter

Selle Français Brand

Holsteiner

Holsteiners are medium-framed and make athletic riding horses. 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 large, intelligent eyes. These conformational characteristics give most Holsteiners good balance and elegant movement. (source)

By dregsplod from Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA – JumperUploaded by Countercanter, CC BY 2.0, Link

Height:

16 – 17 hands

Origin:

Germany

Foundation Breeds:

Neapolitan and Spanish horses, Thoroughbred, Cleveland Bays and their Thoroughbred-infused relatives, Yorkshire Coach Horses

Holsteiner Brand

Oldenburg

The Oldenburg is a warmblood horse from the north-western corner of Lower Saxony, what was formerly the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. The breed was built on a mare base of all-purpose farm and carriage horses, today called the Alt-Oldenburger. The modern Oldenburg is managed by the Association of Breeders of the Oldenburger Horse, which enacts strict selection of breeding stock to ensure that each generation is better than the last. Oldenburgers are tall sport horses with excellent gaits and jumping ability. The breeding of Oldenburg horses is characterized by very liberal pedigree requirements and the exclusive use of privately owned stallions rather than restriction to a state-owned stud farm.

Even among warmbloods, most Oldenburgers have expressive, elastic gaits with a great deal of suspension. The quality of the walk, trot, or canter is highly individual, but their gaits are selected to be suitable for sport. All three gaits are straight when viewed from the front or back, and rhythmical at all times. The walk is diligent and open, the trot is active and elastic, and the canter is uphill and adjustable. Over fences, even most dressage-bred Oldenburgers show some talent. The jumper-bred individuals are capable with great technique.  (source)

By Martin BahmannOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Height:

16 – 17.2 hands

Origin:

Germany

Foundation Breeds:

Frederiksborger, Thoroughbred, Anglo-Arabian, Trakehner, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Westphalian, Dutch Warmbloods and Selle Français

Oldenburg Horse Brand

Trakehner

Trakehner is a light warmblood breed of horse, originally developed at the East Prussian state stud farm in the town of Trakehnen from which the breed takes its name. It is considered to be the lightest and most refined of the warmbloods, due to its closed stud book which allows entry of only Trakehner, as well as few selected bloodlines. The state stud was established in 1731 and operated until 1944, when the fighting of World War II led to the annexing of East Prussia by Russia, and the town containing the stud renamed.

The Trakehner is used as a “refiner” of other breeds, allowing an infusion of Thoroughbred and Arabian blood without the risks often involved in first generation outcrosses.

While Trakehners compete in nearly all equestrian disciplines, they are particularly prized as dressage mounts, due to their sensitivity, intelligence and way of going. Due to their very light build, Trakehners tend to do better in the sport of eventing than most other warmblood breeds. (source)

Height:

15.2 – 17 hands

Origin:

Prussia

Foundation Breeds:

Thoroughbred, Hanoverian, Anglo-Arabian, Shagya & Arabian

Trakehner Brand

Belgian Warmblood

The Belgian Warmblood is a Belgian breed of warmblood sport horse. It is bred for dressage, for show-jumping and for three-day eventing. It is one of three Belgian warmblood breeds or stud-books, the others being the Zangersheide and the Belgian Sport Horse – to which it is closely similar.

The published breeding aim for the Belgian Warmblood reads as follows:

“A noble modern and correctly-built warmblood horse with a rectangular frame, big outlines and good basic paces. The horse should be pleasant to ride and have an unobjectionable character, so that it can be used by any rider, both as pleasure horse and as a performance horse on national and international level. There has to be a balance between conformation, performance and health.”

Belgian Warmbloods range in size and substance, but the ideal size for a stallion is between 16 and 17 hands high at the withers. Mares are not eligible for breeding rights unless they exceed 15.1 hands high. In type, the Belgian Warmblood is similar to the HolsteinerSelle FrancaisDutch Warmblood, and Hanoverian, and less like the Trakehner(source)

Height:

16 – 17 hands

Origin:

Belgium

Foundation Breeds:

Brabant, Hanoverian, Holsteiner

Belgian Warmblood Brand

Westphalian

The Westphalian, or Westfalen, is a warmblood horse bred in the Westphalia region of western Germany. The Westphalian is closely affiliated with the state-owned stud farm of Warendorf, which it shares with the Rhinelander. Since World War II, the Westphalian horse has been bred to the same standard as the other German warmbloods, and they are particularly famous as Olympic-level show jumpers and dressage horses. Next to the Hanoverian, the Westphalian studbook has the largest breeding population of any warmblood in Germany.

Westphalians are bred to the same standard as the other German warmbloods and in particular exchange a great deal of genetic material with the nearby Rhinelander and Hanoverian. The standard for all German riding horses calls for an appealing, long-lined, correct riding horse with bold, expansive, elastic gaits, suitable for all types of riding due to its temperament, character, and rideability. The Westphalian’s type is less refined than that of a Thoroughbred, but less coarse than that of a “cold blood”. Westphalians are bred to be suitable for pleasure riding and competitive in dressage and show jumping. (source)

Original uploader was Karlyne at fr.wikipedia – Transfered from fr.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

Height:

15.2 – 17.2 hands

Origin:

Germany

Foundation Breeds:

Rhenish Cold Blood, Thoroughbred, East Prussian stallions, Oldenburg

Westphalian Brand

Rhinelander

The Rhenish Warmblood is a German warmblood breed of sport horse. It is traditionally bred around Warendorf State Stud, which it shares with the Westphalian, and is bred to the same standard as the Westphalian and other German warmbloods, such as the Bavarian Warmblood, Mecklenburger, Brandenburger, and Württemberger.

The breed standard calls for a horse of correct sport horse type that is long-lined, fitting into a rectangular outline rather than a square, and noble, a term that suggests aesthetic appeal that does not entail extreme refinement. In motion, the Rhinelander should portray boldness, a long stride, and an elastic quality at the walk, trot, and canter. The temperament, character and rideability of the Rhinelander make it suitable for any type of recreational or competitive riding. These horses are primarily bred for dressage and show jumping. (source)

By Oliver Abels (SBT) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Height:

16 – 17 hands

Origin:

Germany

Foundation Breeds:

Thoroughbred, Trakehner, Westphalian, and Hanoverian

Breed Website:

Rhinelander Brand

Irish Sport Horse

The Irish Sport Horse, also know as the Irish Draught Horse or Irish Hunter, is an Irish breed of warmblood sporting horse, used mostly for dressage, eventing and show-jumping. It was bred from 1923 by cross-breeding of Irish Draught and Thoroughbred stock. There was some limited introduction of Hanoverian, Selle Français and Trakehner blood in the 1990s. It is a recognized true breed – foals may only be registered in the main section of the stud-book if both parents are registered in that section. It is an active, powerful horse with substance and quality. It has an intelligent and gentle nature and is noted for its docility and common sense. It can be any dark color, including gray. When crossed with thoroughbreds, it has become a top caliber international athlete. Known for it’s jumping and cross-country ability, its docile temperament also makes it a desirable mount for novice riders. (source)(source)

By don carey – originally posted to Flickr as laura renwick, CC BY 2.0, Link

Height:

15.1 – 16.3 hands

Origin:

Ireland

Foundation Breeds:

Irish Draught, Thoroughbred,

Irish Sport Horse Brand

Danish Warmblood

While still a young breed, Danish Warmblood horses are currently represented at international competitions in both dressage and show jumping.

The best Danish horses have a Thoroughbred outline that is combined with substance, strength, and good legs. They are courageous and spirited, have excellent temperaments, and good free action. They are used as dressage horses and make first-class performers in cross country. Danish horses also make good show jumpers. They can be all solid colors and stand anywhere from 15.3 to 17 hands.

Height:

15.3 – 17 hands

Origin:

Denmark

Foundation Breeds:

Frederiksborg, Thoroughbred, Anglo-Norman, and Trakehner

Danish Warmblood Brand

Dutch Warmblood

A Dutch Warmblood is a warmblood type of horse registered with the Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland (Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands (KWPN). No registry has produced more successful international show jumping horses than the KWPN. In North America, the Dutch Warmblood is a favorite choice for the hunter ring. 

Dutch law has made branding illegal, so today only the oldest Dutch Warmbloods from the Netherlands still bear the lion-rampant brand on the left hip. Instead, the horses are microchipped. However, North American Dutch Warmbloods may still be branded (source)

By FotoimageOwn work, Public Domain, Link

Height:

15.3 – 17.1 hands

Origin:

Netherlands

Breed Website:

Dutch Warmblood Brand

Play the Warmblood Horse Brand Matching Game

Drag & Drop the warmblood horse breed name With the Correct Brand. Check Your Answers.

Warmblood Horse Breeds Word Search

Advertisements