German warmblood horse

All warmblood horses in Germany are named after the region in which they are bred, except for the German Warmblood horse the Trakehner. You can get confused by this if you find a pure bred Holsteiner that is registered as a Bavarian Warmblood because it was born in Bavaria. This German Warmblood horse will get a Bavarian Brand. In Germany there are several German Warmblood horses. The major German Warmblood horses will be mentioned below. The most German Warmblood horses are mixed so that sometimes there are hardly no differences between the breeds of the German Warmblood horse.

Hanoverian warmblood

First of all there is the Hanoverian, a German Warmblood horse that is one of great quality. The history of this German Warmblood horse that, like many German warmbloods is a crossbreed, starts in 1735 at the Celle stud. The main goal of breeding the Hanoverian was to produce an agricultural horse that could be used for many purposes. The local mares were quite heavy so Celle used 14 black Holstein horses to breed a German Warmblood horse that also turned out to be a useful horse for the war. In 1815 thoroughbred horses were mixed in. This made the Hanoverian lighter and more suitable for driving and riding and work around the farm. This German Warmblood horse had more courage and toughness. Though, the Hanoverian breeders were very careful with using thoroughbreds because they did not want the Hanoverian Warmblood horse to become too light.

In 1924 the stud in Cell had 500 stallions. After World War 2 the production of competition horses started. This German Warmblood horse was then mixed with some quality thoroughbreds and Trakehners which has lead to a rideable horse with the courage of a thoroughbred.

Nowadays the studbook of the Hanoverian German Warmblood horse uses a strict system to select the best young horses. Stallions that are not licensed are prohibited by law to stand at stud. A vet check is done at the very beginning followed by an assessment of their jumping skills (by judging freejumping). In the following days a group of young stock will be marked for conformation, correct movement, presence and masculinity. The second day the judges will look at the young German warmbloods another time before they announce the results. If the German warmblood colt has passed this selection it will have to do the 30 days test. Besides this test there is a two day test where the German Warmblood stallions are examined in Movement, Showjumping, Dressage and Cross Country performance. During the 30 days test (this used to be 100 days) the young German warmblood horses undergo a controlled and professional training to make sure that the assessment will be true and fair.
The given marks are equally divided in two parts: one part comes from the 30 days test and the other from the 2 days test. The German Warmbloods will be finally licensed in the two days test. The score of the German Warmblood horse must be over 90 in every discipline to get licensed.The Celle State Stud has the first option to stand the best German Warmblood stallions. A German Warmblood stallion can also be accepted by the Verband Studbook when it proves to be extremely successful in competitions.

Oldenburg warmblood

In 1600 the Oldenburg was established. This German Warmblood horse was the heaviest type of all German Warmblood horses. Friesian mares and a half-bred stallion named Kranich were the start of the breeding of this German Warmblood horse. Also Spanish horses, Barbs, Neapolitan and English half-breds were mixed in. In the nineteenth century the breeders introduced Thoroughbreds, Cleveland Bays, Hanoverians and French Norman bloodlines. This new German Warmblood horse was an ideal all purpose farm horse.
After World War Two people looked for horses suitable for competitions so Thoroughbreds and French blood was introduced to make the Oldenburg a better riding horse. This German Warmblood horse is still big and powerful, usually standing between 16.2hh and 17.2hh, with short legs, deep girth, strong back and good bone. It tends to have some of the harness horses’s high knee action and is suited to dressage because of its kind temperament and regular paces. The colours are mostly black, brown and bay.

Westphalian warmblood

Another German Warmblood horse breeding is the Westphalian warmblood. This German Warmblood horse breed is very important as there are many horses in this area. The National and Olympic school are also in this region. In Warendurf the state stud is located. The Westphalian warmblood stud has also other German warmblood stallions such as the Hanoverian. Thoroughbred stallions are again used to refine this German Warmblood horse. The influence of the Hanoverian warmblood had made the Westphalian warmblood turn from an army and heavy farm horse into an outstanding sport horse.
The stallion selection system of this German Warmblood is different than the Hanoverians. A test for pulling power is done when this German Warmblood horse is three and a year later they are tested for riding and freejumping. At the age of four and a half the Westphalian warmbloods are vetted. A great example of the success of this German Warmblood is world famous Rubinstein.

Holstein warmblood

One of the most popular German Warmblood horses is the Holteiner. This breeding goes back to the thirteenth century and started in Schleswig-Holstein which is a German state. This German Warmblood horse is a bit heavier than the Hanoverian. The Holstein horse is a mixture of native German Marsh horses, Neapolitan, Spanish and oriental blood. The Holstein horse was very popular because it was not only tough and powerful, but also elegant as a carriage or coach horse. Besides this German Warmblood horse was also a strong riding horse and army mount.

The Holstein breed was mainly influenced by the Yorkshire Coach Horse (now extinct as a specific breed, but was a 50% Cleveland Bay x 50% TB, now known as a CB sporthorse) and the English thoroughbred. What was typical for this German warmblood horse was it’s Roman-nose and heavier type. The nose was made more elegant by the influence of the thoroughbred which also improved its galloping ability, gave it more scope and made the type lighter. An easy temperament was given by the Yorkshire Coach Horse. These days the Holsteiner warmblood horses are quality hunter types and are successful as a dressage horse, jumper and eventer.

This German Warmblood horse is powerfully built, has strong quarters, good depth of girth and short legs with plenty of bone. The average height of this German Warmblood horse is 16hh to 17hh, their colour is usually black, brown or bay. It is a good-tempered horse, possessed of intelligence and willingness to work.

The testing of this German Warmblood horse is a lot like the Hanoverians (performance testing) Holsteiners are subject to performance testing. At the age of three prospective stallions are sent to Westercelle for testing. For registration, three-year-old fillies must be 16hh and premium stallions of two-and-a-half years should be 16.1hh-16.2hh.

Trakehner warmblood

The last German Warmblood horse we are describing is the Trakehner which origin lies in East Prussia, these days part of Poland. Around 1300 Trakehnen studs was established by the Teutonic knights. The native Schweiken was used as a base. These ponies were a bit ordinary and plain but they were also tough and robust and related to the Konik pony. The Stud of Trakehnen was founded in 1732. This German Warmblood horse had a reputation for being an elegant coach horse and became the main source of stallions in Prussia. Later the army needed riding horses so the emphasis changed to a lighter type. Therefore Arab blood was used to mix with this German Warmblood horse.
Before 1913 the greatest part of the mares was sired by Thoroughbreds. The most important Thoroughbred was Perfectionist, who won the English St Leger in 1896. The best of his sons, Tempelhuter, provided a powerful line that is still recognized as one of the foundations of the modern Trakehner. Many horses died in the battle and only 1200 horses were alive at the end of the second world war. Nowadays this German Warmblood horse is wellknown for it’s excellent conformation. The average height is between 16hh and 16.2 hh and any solid colour is seen. From the German Warmblood horses it has the prettiest face (Arab influence) and its toughness tells us who is ancestors were. Great examples of this German Warmblood horse are Hohenstein I, His Highness and Caprimond.

For more information please visit these sites:

Current German warmbloods at Benny de Ruiter Stables
Bavarian German warmblood at Wikipedia
Oldenburg German warmblood at Wikipedia
Trakehner German warmblood at Wikipedia
Holstein German warmblood at Wikipedia
Westphalian German warmblood at Wikipedia

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