A warmblood horse is a horse with a medium build, designed for sporting. Numerous sport horses around the world are classified as warmbloods, and these horses can be seen in action in a wide range of events, from three day eventing to dressage. The term “warmblood” does not refer to a specific breed of horse, but rather to a large and general group of horses which share a number of characteristics. Some typical warmblooded breeds include the Hanoverian, Trakehner, and Westphalian.
These horses are believed to have originated in continental Europe, and they may be descended from earlier forest horses which roamed Europe and were tamed by human settlers. Some warmblood breeds are quite ancient and justifiably famous for their many talents.
Many nations, including most famously Germany and Holland, have individual warmblood registries. These studbooks welcome horses from a range of breeds as long as they meet the warmblood standard, and in fact the requirements for these studbooks are often quite stringent. As a general rule, a horse which is registered as a warmblood must be very sound, with excellent conformation and generally good health. Horses of all colors are accepted in many studbooks.
The build of the warmblood combines endurance, strength, and immense muscle control. Many warmbloods are used in dressage, taking advantage of their elegant carriage and beautiful movements in the dressage ring to perform difficult maneuvers. Others are used as jumpers, hunters, and eventers, competing in events like endurance rides to prove their mettle.
Many warmblood horses are quite large, but they have a refined conformation, lacking the heavy build of cold blooded draft horses like Clydesdales and Percherons. As a general rule, the warmblood standard also includes very calm, intelligent horses who are known for being able to perform under stress and in a wide variety of situations. Depending on the training that a horse receives, it may or may not be suitable for beginning riders, with some warmbloods demanding immense control and skill from their riders.
Many breeders around the world offer warmbloods for sale, and these horses are as a general rule very popular. As registered warmbloods can sometimes be expensive, some riders seek out horses which did not quite meet the breeding standard, but who have many of the desirable traits of the warmblood. These horses can often perform very well in the ring, and they also make good trail horses, possessing the stamina, intelligence, and dynamic action which make the warmblood so popular with riders around the world.