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Warmblood Overview

Filling a need with a breed. Warmbloods (Also referred to as Sport Horses) are a group of middle-weight horse types and breeds, primarily originating in Europe, registered with organizations that are characterized by an *open studbook selection policy with the aim of breeding specifically for equestrian sport; primarily dressage and show jumping. The term warmblood distinguishes horses which share breed characteristics from both sides of the breed spectrum. On one side are the heavy draft horses referred to as “cold bloods” with their slow deliberate mostly docile nature. On the other side are the refined light saddle horses like the Thoroughbreds and Arabians; referred to as “hot bloods” because of their speed, endurance and strongly aggressive nature. Modern Warmbloods are descended from heavier agricultural cold blooded types which have been systematically bred with hot-blooded horses to elicit desirable traits.
(*Open studbooks allows the introduction of any individual horse, regardless of the breed to that registry based on strict adherence to the breed profile or objective of that breeds organization)
Proto-Warmblood Ancestry: The term Warmblood should not imply that this breed category is simply the result of direct breeding between cold blooded and hot blooded breeds. It is thought that the Warmblood breed type which in roomed in continental Europe, descended from a wild, native proto-warmblood ancestor and possibly traces back to a wild prototype called the Forest Horse.
Warmblood Breeding History - The Heavy Warmbloods: Hundreds of years before there were warm bloods there were the ancestral types referred to as the Heavy Warmbloods (in German: Schwere Warmblüter). These animals are a group of horse breeds primarily bred in continental Europe and they filled. The title includes the Alt-Oldenburg (Old-Oldenburg bred from 16th century Oldenburg, Germany the name Alt or Old distinguished the heavy breed from the Modern breed), Ostfriese (East Friesian shares a similar ancestry with the alt and these two breeds are usually grouped as one breed), Groningen and similar horses from Silesia, Saxony-Thuringia, and Bavaria. Breeds like the Hungarian Nonius, Kladruber, and the Cleveland Bay (From the Cleveland area of North England, 17th century) are also often classed as "heavy warmbloods." They are the ancestors of the modern warmbloods, and are typically bred by preservation groups to fit the pre-World War model of the all-purpose utility horse. Unlike the open stud books of the warmblood or sport horse registries that followed them, many heavy warmblood registries maintain closed or partly-closed studbooks. However, external evaluation and performance testing of the breeding stock is still a key element in these registries. Many of the heavy warmbloods are selected primarily for family friendly temperament.
Warmblood Breeds: Most warmbloods were developed in continental Europe. Germany is particularly known for breeding warmbloods. 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. Western European warmbloods include the French Selle Français, Belgian Warmblood, Zangersheide, Dutch Warmblood, Swiss Warmblood, Austrian Warmblood and Danish Warmblood. Scandinavian countries also produce high-quality warmbloods like 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.

Warmblood Open Breed Registry

Warmblood Registry - Breeding Policies: Warmbloods have come into their own since the end of World War II, when mechanization made agricultural horses obsolete and recreational riding became more widespread in the western world. Because of the Warmbloods 'open' studbook policies Warmbloods differ from "true breeds" such as Arabians, Percherons and Morgans (Which all have a closed stud book and require two purebred parents of that breed) and Thoroughbreds, who along with having a closed studbook and the requirement that both parents to be pureblood; they also require “live cover”, where the stud must physically breed the mare (Artificial fertilization is not allowed).
With an “open registry” most warmblood registries accept breeding stock from other similar sport horse populations to continuously improve their own horses, and do not consider their own horses to be a discrete "breed". The Trakehner is an exception, though some other breeds have from time to time been used within the Trakehner breeding population, this horse is considered a true breed. The Hanoverian, Holsteiner, and Selle Francais studbooks are also considered slightly less open than others. Most Warmblood registries recognize breeding stock from any other registry that is a member of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses, which is affiliated with the IOC-recognized International Federation for Equestrian Sports.
Warmblood Registry - Studbook Selection/Test/Inspection/Keuring: A defining characteristic of a Warmblood registry is studbook selection,which is also refered to as an, though even some purebred breeds in Europe use this practice. Studbook selection is the use of critical external evaluation; critiquing the conformation, movement and jumping ability of potential breeding stock, the purpose; to cull out unsuitable breeding horses and direct the breed towards a particular goal. Today, studbook selection usually entails a performance proof in addition to external evaluation, particularly for stallions. A typical studbook selection consists of what is referred to as an inspection, a test or the Dutch Keuring (Inspection) which consists of an initial inspection of the candidate horses. These horses are primarily other sport horse breeds as well as Thoroughbred horses. During the initial stringent inspection all but the best candidate horses are eliminated. These selected horses then attend a final exam where the candidate horse must be shown in hand (Lead on a lead rope) and at liberty (Off the lead rope running within an enclosed area) to demonstrate their athletic ability and will also be required to free jump a three-jump series.   Oldenburg Stallions must also attend a stringent 100 Day Stallion Test, in order to achieve a Lifetime Breeding License.
Warmblood Registry - Breeding Aim: The most critical characteristic of a Warmblood registry is that its breeding goal or "breeding aim" is to breed sport horses. Standards of conformation and movement are not designed to perpetuate a particular ancestral type, but rather to meet a particular need. This concept is illustrated by the history of the Oldenburg horse through the past 150 years: in the late 1800s, the standard called for a heavy but elegant, high-stepping carriage horse, in the early 1900s for a heavier, stronger, economical farm and artillery horse, and since 1950 for a modern, lighter, more athletic sport horse. Each breed registry has a slightly different focus, but most breed primarily for show jumping and dressage, though many include combined driving and eventing as well. The breeding aim is reflective of the needs of the market. In eras and regions which called for cavalry mounts, Warmbloods were bred to fit that need; when and where horses for light to moderate agricultural work were needed, Warmbloods have filled those roles, too. The purposeful evolution of the standard breeding aim is another characteristic of the Warmbloods.
Heavy Warmbloods: The ancestral types, referred to as the heavy warmbloods are preserved through special organizations. The heavy warmbloods have found their niche as family horses and in combined driving.