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
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
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
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
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
Author Resource:-> Crystal writes for http://www.HorseClicks.com,
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