The Swedish Warmblood horse is among the oldest warm-blooded horse breeds that exist in the world. The first of these breeds showed up in the Flyinge and Stromsholm regions of Sweden. Widely exported around the United States of America and Europe, horses suit riding purposes. Their smooth and comfortable pace is amenable to a variety of riders.
With ancestors like Arabian, Thoroughbred and Hanoverian horses backing up lineage, these horses come from high standard strains. These quality horses are much sought after all over the western world today.
The Swedish Warmblood horse possesses a distinctive historical background. Archaeological findings show that this horse goes back to 4,000 BCE, used by Scandinavian settlers to establish their territories.
In the 1600s, Sweden experienced terrible weather and horses couldn’t be bred successfully. Although these weren’t high-quality horses, they were reliable and hardy. Swedes required large horses to meet warfare needs. Wars led to a depletion in cavalry horses and Swedes had to replenish these.
The 17th century saw some respite with the initiation of a breeding program involving Spanish and Friesian horses. Crossed with local mares, these imports created robust, agile horses. Gradually, the purpose of breeding saw a shift, with war and work horses eliminated, attempts made to produce an ideal dressage, sporting event and riding horse. In 1874, the first stud book was published, keeping a record of documented mares in breeding programs.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, bloodlines of the Thoroughbred, Arabian, Hanoverian and Trakehner were introduced in breeding programs. The result was an elegant and powerful horse. This is the Swedish Warmblood horse today.
The Swedish Warmblood Association, formed in 1928, aimed at establishing breeding programs bringing forth versatile horses with athletic traits and composed temperaments.
Under this organization, there are approximately twenty-five member associations categorized by region. These members manage tests and inspection tours for foals. The animals had such appeal that news of their prowess spread.
In 1981, the first official inspection of foals was held on an international level in North America. In the 1980s, the Swedish Warmblood Association of North America (SWANA) began operations. Till today, it diligently continues to work towards the promotion of consistency of the breed.
Gentle, friendly and steady, the Swedish Warmblood is a horse to rely on. With a calmness of temperament, these horses don’t get agitated and are steady on their feet.
They are small, but this doesn’t compromise the grace they portray with their long necks and straight backs. Gaits are steady, easy and flowing and this is why riders love them.
Handsome horses have large appetites, as they are horses of power. They thrive on hay, alfalfa and grass.
Breeding And Uses
With the country of origin being Sweden, the Swedish Warmblood horse descends from Spanish and Friesian bloodlines. To create a better quality horse, Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Hanoverians and Trakehners were bred with the breed.
This has produced perfect horses for show events, dressage and riding. The breed standards of these horses are officially registered with the Swedish Warmblood Association of North America. With a pedigree of Swedish Warmblood, Thoroughbred and Hanoverian lineage, Briar 899 is a stallion, ranked highest in dressage. This accolade was consistently won for seven years.
In 1988, in the Seoul Olympics, six out of thirteen Swedish Warmbloods achieved awards. A popular Swedish Warmblood stallion, Van Vivaldi, holds pride of place for proficient leg work and excellent balance.
The Swedish Warmblood stands at an average height of 16 – 17 hands, and a typical weight of 1025 pounds (0.46 ton).
What Breeds Make Up The Swedish Warmblood?
Earlier on, Spanish and Friesian horses bred with Swedish Warmblood mares, created robust horses. Breeders weren’t satisfied and required horses of a high standard.
In the 1920s and 30s, breeding programs incorporated strong bloodlines made up of Arabians, Hanoverians, Thoroughbreds and Trakehners. These years were crucial to breed growth, with Thoroughbreds like Hamlet, Hamplemann and Tribun adding high standards.
These horses come in roan, brown and gray. Some horses may be bay, chestnut and black too.
What Do They Look Like?
Horses have large, kind eyes, refined heads and big nostrils and ears. With a look of intelligence in a compact frame, these horses are graceful and long-legged. Athletic with fine muscle tone, they have straight backs, short cannons and rounded quarters.
What Are They Used For?
Agile and quick performers, these horses are intelligent and used today, all over Europe and North America. They do well as general riders, in show jumping events and for dressage. Manageable and with a gait that seems to flow naturally, the horse is a desired candidate for performing events.
Where Do They Live?
With its straightforward pacing ability, this horse is native to Sweden, although lives in parts of Europe and North America. Particularly, the Swedish Warmblood Association of North America, dedicated to maintaining the breed internationally, is a non-profit organization setting breed standards.
How Long Do They Live?
These horses can live for more than 25 years. They are slow to mature, and grow till they are five years old.
How Fast Are They?
They are among the fastest pacers for show jumping events in the world, achieving awards that rank in the highest, completing courses in record times.
How Much Do They Cost?
Depending on the breeding standards registered for a filly or a stallion, horse prices vary. The lineage also counts and some mares have been sold for $12,000 USD upwards, registered through SWANA.
Stallions with reputations of dressage training and show levels can be sold for anywhere between $35,000 USD – $40,000 USD. Award-winning animals are offered up for as much as $58,000 USD.
Are They Good For Beginners?
Swedish Warmblood horses are good driving horses as their gaits are steady and horses make a novice feel balanced. Gaits are straight and flow with ease. These horses are great for beginners to handle as they are friendly and warm, besides being compact enough to maneuver.
Conclusion / Summary
In contrast to other warm bloods, the Swedish Warmblood was not bred as a draft horse. It has been bred for riding for centuries, when the Swedish Army used stallions of the breed to fend off Napoleon’s battalions.
Now horses are used for driving, dressage and show jumping, and some of the most well-loved horses have made breeders and owners proud by constantly winning medals.