What Is The British Warmblood Horse? (A Complete Guide)

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Like much of Continental Europe, the United Kingdom has a long history of using the horse as a working animal. From farmwork to battle, the horse is a standard of the region. 

Hardy native breeds have been and still are used not only for agricultural work but industrial work as well. Often when real muscle was needed, it was the horse that came through. Horses have long carried the tradition of cavalry fighters as England fought its numerous battles throughout history. 

The use for horses has changed considerably, with so many being used more for sport, such as polo or fox hunting, and companion animals. 

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What Is The British Warmblood Horse?

The British Warmblood horse is more of a mix of different types of British sport horses rather than a defined breed. A warm-blood horse breeding stock is a cross between hot-blooded breeds, such as the Thoroughbred or the Arabian, and cold-blooded breeds. 

Most draft breeds are cold-blooded. Warmbloods carry many bloodlines of approved breeds, provided they meet the conditions of the type.

What exactly makes a horse a British Warmblood is a topic of debate for some. They are generally seen as a combination of the Thoroughbred and some European breeds, like the Hanoverian and Trakehner. They must be British bred and born. So, summed up, a warmblood is more of a type of horse than a breed.

History

The British Warmblood that we are familiar with today was originated in 1977, with the founding of the British Warmblood Society, hence the term warmblood. Because breeding pedigreed stock for the warmblood meant crossing a hot and cold-blooded horse, the group came together to devote themselves to the perfection of the breed.

It ensured a type of pedigree horse that was built for competitive equine disciplines.

Today, the British Warmblood Society is proud to be a full category A member of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. They strictly follow the Warmblood Breeders Studbook of the United Kingdom. Doing so makes it possible for the breed to maintain the excellent standard that sets them apart.

Today, three warmblood breed societies have been formed in the United Kingdom; The British Hanoverian Horse Society, The Trakehner Breeders Fraternity, and the British Warmblood Society.

Appearance

Because the registries are focused on jumping skills, the British Warmbloods should be able to compete in any type of competitive riding, including dressage. In order to do this, the British Warmbloods are usually larger than other show breeds, giving them the advantage to excel over jumps and in the dressage ring.

The British Warmblood stands from 15.2 to 17.0 hands (between 62 and 68 inches). They have a big chest that is built for endurance in events and powerful hindquarters that helps them excel in their jumping. 

These horses are a bit longer in the back than other jumping breeds. The reason for this trait is that it offers the horse better flexibility for dressage. The overall appearance of the British Warmblood should be well proportioned and muscular but not too heavy. 

In theory, the British Warmblood can be any color, though solid colors are generally preferred for dressage. You will see them in black, chestnut, brown, gray, dun, and bay. Occasionally the horse will be seen in palomino.

Characteristics

The British Warmblood Society strives to breed solid and sound horses that have remarkable movement and excellent temperaments. Stallions much meet grading criteria and have at least half warmblood in their bloodline. 

A stallion will only be considered for group one status if they have been graded and welcomed into the British Warmblood Studbook. The stallion will also need to pass rigorous performance testing to be considered a sire of a future dressage horse or grade A jumper. 

Temperaments

The British Warmblood is a sporting horse, so it needs to have the temperament that is fit for the job. Thankfully, they are strong and willing workers. They work well with experienced riders who can manage them. These performance horses welcome sharing the responsibility of the job with their rider.

The draught workhorse is gentle in nature, so it should be expected that the British Warmblood carries this same demeanor. Thankfully, today, they are sensitive horses with intelligence and a friendly manner due to their strict breeding standards.

The British Warmblood enjoys a day of hard work with its trainer and is a willing proponent of following orders.

Health

Overall, these horses tend to be healthy animals. This good health comes as an advantage when it comes to performing. And because they are generally healthy, it allows breeders more selection when it comes to breeding. This ensures that the animal is free from genetic issues. 

Obviously, any horse can fall ill, and so breeders or future owners are expected to have their pets checked regularly by an equine veterinarian. A horse that works as hard as the British Warmblood will be more prone to injury and extended healing times.

Care

The British Warmblood does require a degree of care as they are bred for stellar performance. Daily grooming is an easy task as they have fine hair, but it is essential to keep up with it. 

Keeping the British Warmblood comfortable in different weather requires an adequate stable where they won’t get too cold or too hot. Because they are workers, they will need to be fed a healthy diet, particularly in the winter. They also need daily turnout throughout the year. 

Use

The British Warmblood is a competition and show horse that is bred to compete. They have a particular use for jumping and dressage. Both are very popular sports in the United Kingdom and a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II.

Conclusion

The British Warmblood falls into a group of middleweight horses that are bred primarily for sport. They originated in the United Kingdom and were established by the British Warmblood Society in 1977. 

Warmbloods are a cross between hot-blooded breeds like the Thoroughbred and cold-blooded breeds like the hefty draft horse. They are bred to rigorous standards to ensure the bloodline stays strong. They are used primarily in sport, such as dressage and show jumping.

To learn more about the British Warmbloods, check out this link:

https://www.viovet.co.uk/breed_information/2-403/British-Warmblood

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