What is a Warmblood Horse?

Jessica McDaniel
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Biological Meaning of Warmblood Horse

A "warmblood" is defined by the International Studbook for Warmblood Horses as a type of horse with a specific set of characteristics. It is different from a "cold blood." The warmblood's ancestors were selectively bred for performance, while cold blood horses were bred for a common work capacity. A warmblood tends to be larger and faster than a cold blood horse, and they may have more distinguishing physical features.

A lot of people want to know "what is a warmblood horse??" or "what does warmblood refer to?" so this is a quick and to-the-point answer to sum it up.

Warmblood Horse Type

The warmbloods, are a versatile type of horse, that embodies a number of different horse breed characteristics. It is generally accepted that warmbloods are a cross between warm blooded Oriental horses and hardy, cold-blooded farm horses.

Warm bloods typically possess strong constitutions combined with a wide range of athletic abilities. Many warmbloods can perform athletic feats that are rare in other breeds.

Warmbloods are generally taller and heavier than their smaller counterparts, the Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, with larger bodies. They also lacking the refinement that you find in the Thoroughbreds, and instead, have a more powerful, rugged look about them, like the Quarter Horses.

Warmbloods are usually bred for a specific purpose. In contrast, Thoroughbreds are bred for speed and a specific gait and in some cases, for temperament. They are bred to be fit and fast and must be able to gallop for extended periods of time, a feat that also allows them to perform at a high level in show jumping and eventing.

Warmblood Horse breeds

Are crossbreeds between various warmblood type horses and various warmblood type breeds.

One of the distinguishing factors of the warmblood horse is its unique bloodline, while some other types of horses are bred for certain desired traits.

A general definition of a warmblood is a non-thoroughbred horse that is born and bred for sport. While warmbloods can be bred or trained for multiple sports, they are primarily known for jumping and dressage.

Warmblood horses are known for their athleticism, compared to non-thoroughbred warmbloods, which are more focused on the careful breeding of traits for specific types of sports.

Warmbloods need to be athletic in order to compete in the various different types of competitions.

Also, unlike traditional warmblood horses, which were bred for specific traits, the unique bloodlines mean that warmblood horse have a coat color that is lighter than the traditional warmblood.


This is a recent, specialized breed of light horse, developed in Germany from The North German and Westphalian Lowland type. Warmbloods display a level of quality and refinement as well as athleticism. All Trakehners must trace their pedigrees to the stallion Justus, foaled in 1778. This is the only stallion they will allow as a foundation sire.

The term Trakehner derives from the district in East Germany, which surrounds the town of Trakehnen (now called Kaliningrad). They were once the property of the Hassenstein state stud farm, established in the XVII century. This stud was captured by the Soviets after World War II and it is still located in the Kaliningrad District of Russia. However, it is no longer operated as a government owned farming business. Other Trakehner breeding farms still exist in Germany.

Trakehners have an excellent-quality blood line, which is ideal for producing horses that perform exceptionally well on the racecourse. This long, muscular breed prefers to be ridden over fences and they are excellent for endurance riding as well. They are known for having plenty of scope and stamina. Trakehners are also a powerhouse when it comes to dressage. This breed also has the potential to be a competitive jumper. As a result, they are commonly raced, ridden over fences, and trained in dressage.

Selle Francais

A Excellent Riding Horse

The Selle Francais is a beautiful, comfortable to ride, and sweet-tempered horse considered as a descendant of the French Trotters. Originally, they were bred for horse races but now, they are often trained for jumping competitions.

At times, their speed combined with strength makes them a competitive choice for many equestrian competitions. This breed is also quite popular as a ride horse and a show horse.

In fact, it is believed that Queen Victoria rode a Selle Francais. Today, Selle Francais is the traditional warhorse of the French cavalry (hence the name).

The breed is also known as an excellent riding horse that combines elegance and ability with strength and speed.


Holsteiner Warmblood is just another name for Holsteiner. It's the name given to a breed of German Warmbloods.

The breed consists of riding horses and was developed in southern Germany. The Holsteiner Warmblood gene pool is confined to Holstein horses.

Also known as Marchbank Holsteiner, Holsteiner Warmblood are fancy riding horses based on the one-handed Marchbank.

Holsteiner Warmblood Horses possess an incredible leopard-like quality. They are highly energetic and hardworking. They are also used for trotters, dressage and stadium jumping.

When it comes to traits and character the Holsteiner Warmbloods are gentle and can be easily trained, which is why they're often used in dressage. They're also quite a fearless breed and have a good eye. Their temperament is described as open and friendly.

The Holsteiner Warmblood is a standout horse and is well known for its noble head, elegant neck, high shoulder and strong shoulder blade. The build is also characterized by good legs and a long back.

They're a very large horse and generally stand 1.60-1.70 meters at the wither, with 12-13.2 hands as average.


The Hanoverian breed originated in Germany and is a modern-day horse breed from the state of Hanover.

They are primarily bred for dressage and show jumping and specialize in a very high trot. The Hanoverian was originally bred by crossing the German Riding horse with imported Arabians and Anglo-Norman horses to produce offspring that excelled in high-spiritedness, endurance and jumping.

However, the foundation sires for the Hanoverian breed were 18 horses from the Spanish Riding School, Vienna.

Today, they can be found in Germany, Italy and the UK.

The Hanoverian inherited its genes from its foundation sire, Oldenborg, whose lineage dates back to the 17th century.


The Oldenburg breed originates from Germany and is popular for its good jumping form and competitive character.

Other Names: Holsteiner, Westphalian

Popular Traits: friendly, confident, and easy going



Warmblood enthusiasts are excited about the new blood coming from outside of the warmblood family tree. They are in search of speed and substance, and the cross of cold-blooded thoroughbreds and hotblooded warmbloods, often referred to as the "hotbloods", will likely become the foundation for this new era of sport horses.

Now it is time to turn to the horses themselves. The following breed descriptions give a brief overview of each horse so that you will have the tools you need to better understand the horses and thereby make sound choices when making your initial contacts.