No matter where you look, you will see them advertised: Warmblood
horses for sale. But what exactly is a Warmblood and what
makes them different from the other breeds?
There are two different definitions for the term. One is
commonly referred to as Warmbloods, while the other is not
capitalized: warmbloods. Technically a warmblood is any horse
that is a crossbred between a "cold blood", such as a draft
horse, and a "hot blood", such as a Thoroughbred.
Many people who crossbreed drafts with Thoroughbreds will
call their offspring warmbloods. While this upsets many Warmblood
breeders, they are technically correct. The thing is, most
draft crosses are not of the same quality and type as a Warmblood,
and most are not suited to the upper levels of performance.
Draft crosses tend to be inconsistent in type, and the second
generation crosses may show any range of draft or non-draft
qualities. The also tend to be heavier in type than is considered
best for performance.
While Warmbloods were developed from similar crosses, this
development started hundreds of years ago. In recent years
there is rarely any addition of heavier bloodlines. Instead,
many Warmblood breed registries have chosen to add some lighter
blood from select Thoroughbred bloodlines to refine the breeds
and produce horses with even better performance ability.
It takes many generations to produce an animal that is genetically
sound and will consistently produce the same quality and type
generation after generation. Since Warmbloods have been produced
with specific goals in mind for so many years, it is possible
to expect a consistent level of quality and type from Warmblood
Warmblood breed registries have stringent testing programs
to select only the best stock for the breeding programs, culling
animals that cannot make the grade. This allows the registries
to maintain a consistent level of quality, and to make improvements
to the breed.
Another thing you may come across when shopping for a horse
is an animal advertised as "warmblood type". This means that
the horse has a solid, yet refined build and is athletic.
This may be applied to any breed of horse and has nothing
to do with bloodlines at all.
So, if you are looking for a performance horse, be aware
that a horse advertised as a warmblood may in fact be any
combination of bloodlines that makes it a cross between a
cold blood and a hot blood. A horse who is of "warmblood type"
may not have any actual warmblood bloodlines in it at all,
and could even be grade. If a horse is advertised as a Warmblood,
it should have European Warmblood bloodlines such as Hanoverian,
Holsteiner or Oldenburg in it. It should be registered with
one of the recognized Warmblood registries.
While you can find a perfectly good warmblood or horse of "warmblood
type" who will be successful in the ring, not all will have
been bred for the purpose. It is possible to find a higher level
of consistency of type of quality from a Warmblood from a recognized
registry. A Warmblood may cost more, but often the price difference
is worth it.
About the Author
Lydia K Kelly is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds of warmbloods