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Horse Articles :: Dutch Warmblood Horse

Dutch Warmblood Horse

The Dutch Warmblood is a breed of horse developed as a competitive and recreational horse for the major international equestrian disciplines of dressage, jumping, three-day eventing and driving for which it has gained world-wide recognition. It is also known as the Royal Dutch Sport Horse or simply Dutch Sport Horse.

Most warmblood breeds are continuing to evolve. In fact, they are not breeds in the sense that Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Morgan Horses and Saddlebreds are breeds. Their studbooks are not closed so that other breeds can be introduced into the gene pool to reap the benefits of hybrid vigor and to speed and improve the evolutionary process of attaining the breeding goal of a particular studbook. The Dutch Warmblood is no exception.

Registered warmblood breeding in the Netherlands has been going on for over 100 years. In 1887, King Willem II recognized the first Dutch studbook organization and in doing so he laid the groundwork for regulated Warmblood breeding. During the 19th century several regional and local studbook organizations bred horses specifically for farming.

In the 1950's, the Dutch Warmblood Horse evolved from crossing two man-created Dutch breeds - the Gelderlander and the Groningen, and then refining the horse with the Thoroughbred to improve stamina. The Gelderlander evolved on the light sandy soils of central Holland and is a medium-sized horse with a stylish gait and jumping abilities inherited from its many ancestors; the Gelderlander gave the new breed its excellent forequarters. The Groningen evolved on the heavy clay soils of northern Holland into a larger and heavier, draft style horse that was nearly lost in the mid-20th Century due to a significant number of mares being used to create the Dutch Warmblood which left few purebreds. Both the Gelderlander and the Groningen share Friesian, Oldenburger and Holsteiner in their ancestry along with other related warmbloods, such as the Oldenburg and the Hanoverian used to clarify minor conformation details as well as to emphasize a calm temperament. The breeding program that began in the 1960's gave the world one of the most successful horse breeds ever developed in postwar Europe.

However, there are 3 varieties of Dutch Warmblood Horses. Using the old established bloodlines, the Dutch developed a true riding sport horse or Rijpaard, using Thoroughbred stallions as well as riding-type stallions from France, Holstein, Hanover and elsewhere while taking care to retain the qualities of the old Dutch breeds. Hackney Horses were also introduced to this cross in order to produce a stylish harness horse with a proud, high head carriage and high knee action, known as the Dutch Harness Horse or Tuigpaard with American Saddlebred being added now. Other breeders continue to breed the traditional Gelderlander light draft horse, or Basistype, by crossing with the Groningen to add more mass. As a result, the modern Dutch Warmblood horse is divided into three categories in the KWPN Studbook as sport horse, harness horse and traditional Gelderlander type.

Breeding and selection of the Dutch Warmblood Horse is strictly controlled and monitored by the Koninkijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland (KWPN) or Royal Warmblood Horse Studbook of the Netherlands. This registry governs the breeding and the studbook in North America through a branch organization (KWPN-NA) formed in 1983. Keurings, or horse inspections, are held each year in both the Netherlands and in North America and the horses are presented at age three or older. Only after they have proven that they possess the necessary quality and breed standard will they be entered into the Studbook and allowed to be branded as Dutch Warmblood horses. However, branding of horses is illegal according to Dutch law, so today only the oldest Dutch Warmbloods still bear the lion-rampant brand on the left hip. Today's horses are micro-chipped instead.

But the selection process doesn't end with that one inspection. Both genders undergo regular re-evaluations and are given classifications according to their contribution to the breed, including their own achievements and the achievements of their offspring. No registry has produced more successful international show jumping horses than the KWPN. With at least 8 Olympic medalists since 2000; 2 in dressage, 6 in show jumping, the Dutch Warmblood Horse ranked first in jumping by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) in 2007.

Physically, the Dutch Warmblood Horse stands 15.2 hands with no upper height limit, although the average is about 16.2 hands with some reaching 17 hands. A horse that is too tall is impractical for sport and therefore not desirable. The head is refined with a straight profile and the neck is long and arched. The withers are fairly prominent and the girth is deep with plenty of heart room. The forelegs are strong and well-muscled and the hindquarters are powerful. The hock joints are low to the ground and these factors combine to give great power to the Dutch Warmblood. The overall impression should be a horse of balanced proportions. They are easy to handle, easy to ride and intelligent, with a willing and hard-working character.

Most Dutch Warmblood Horses are black, brown, bay, chestnut, or grey. White markings on the face and legs are not uncommon. The gene pool also has several tobiano horses from the approved stallion, Samber, although no tobiano stallion has been approved since. The roan pattern turns up occasionally from the approved stallion, El Rosso.

Dutch Warmblood Horses are high achievers, but good conformation is not to be overshadowed by achievements. In a relatively short time the modern Dutch Warmblood has risen to international competitive importance. Dutch Warmbloods have been exported all over the world and are winners under the flags of many nations in international competitions as well as in the Olympic Games.

Dutch Warmblood foals must have a name no longer than 20 characters or spaces that begins with the designated letter for the year of their birth. The designated letter for 2008 is "D" and may be the same name as a previous horse, although the registration number itself will be unique. However, approved stallions must have a unique name and in some cases must be renamed once approved.

However, there is a downside to the breed. Osteochondrosis (OC) is currently the most prevalent developmental disorder in horses where a disturbance occurs in the process of ossification, resulting in the formation of abnormalities in the bone and cartilage during a foal's growth. Currently, OC affects approximately 30% of young horses worldwide, mostly in warmblood breeds. Of the 12,000 foals born each year and registered by the Dutch Warmblood studbook KWPN, an average of 3,000 will develop OC during their first year. A complete genetic study to investigate the differences in genetic background between joints and differences between factors influencing the development of OC is underway and will continue for two more years.

The success of the Dutch Warmblood Horse is no accident. The same characteristics and approaches which have made The Netherlands outstanding in agriculture and commerce have been applied to their goal to breed the best sport horse in the world.

Author Resource:-> Crystal writes for, classifieds of Morgan Horses for sale










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