Spalding’s Guide to Horse Breeds – Warmbloods


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Spalding’s Guide to Horse Breeds – Warmbloods

Morgan Murphy

Spalding’s Guide to Horse Breeds – Warmbloods


The term Warmblood, is meant to indicate horses descended from a strategic combination of cold blooded (Draft Horse types) and hot blooded imports (Thoroughbreds, Arabians, etc.) that are bred specifically for disciplines such as dressage, stadium jumping and eventing, starting in the early to mid 20th century. They are a carefully developed group of horses, bred to be of medium build (Average weight of around 1200-1500 pounds, average height between 15 hh to 17 hh) and of fairly even temperament. With the advent of technology after World War II, horse breeders found the market for horses had changed from farm workers to sport horses and developed these breeds, accordingly.

Most Warmbloods originated in Europe. Germany is very highly regarded for its Warmblood breeding programs. The most well known German Warmbloods include: The Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg and purebred Trakehner. Among the better known Western European Warmbloods are: The French Selle Français, Belgian Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood, Swiss Warmblood, Austrian Warmblood and Danish Warmblood. High quality Warmbloods bred by the Scandinavian countries include: Finnish Warmbloods and Swedish Warmbloods. Warmblood registries not based in continental Europe include those responsible for regulating Irish Sport Horses and American Warmbloods.


The Warmbloods General Appearance


Generally the Warmblood has a Bay, Black, Brown, Chestnut or Gray colored coat. Colors such as Paint or Pinto have begun to sneak into the mix, with the popularity of Warmblood Stallions such as: "Sambertino." Warmbloods are athletic horses with long arched necks, strong legs and shoulders. Their heads are well shaped with a straight profile and a straight and long back, short, broad and flat croup and a tail set high. Their hind legs are incredibly strong, which makes them strong competitors in jumping competitions.

Josie – a classic Dutch KWPN Warmblood – Courtesy of Alison Daff



Warmblood Temperaments


The temperament of the Warmblood is suitable for all levels of rider including novice and less confident riders. They are reliable and very willing to work and learn; they are exceptionally trainable and enjoy being challenged. The Warmblood is an intelligent horse, who is both perceptive and eager to partner with riders. They are ideal for a range of riding activities but are predominately used in dressage and show jumping. They are easy to handle on the ground, displaying a quiet temperament and calm stall manners. Both "in-season" mares and breeding stallions may be prone towards excitability and should be handled by seasoned professionals. For this reason, geldings are probably the most popular with Amateur and Junior riders.



Some Wondrous Warmblood facts!



Warmbloods must be inspected for confirmation, temperament, movement and type, prior to being approved as breeding stock.

A Dutch Warmblood stallion named Brego played Aragorn’s steed in all three Lord of the Rings movies. 


Recent Warmblood Olympic medal-winners in dressage include Ferro and Udon. The Warmblood stallion Totilas currently holds the world record for the highest dressage score in Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage.



In the USA, the Dutch Warmblood is a favorite choice for the hunter ring. Rox Dene, named "Hunter of the Century" by the Chronicle of the Horse, was sired by the Dutch Warmblood stallion Aristos B


To learn more about other horse breeds visit again soon.



  • Kinda disappointed with these lately. Why has the quality of these articles suddenly gone down?