The term “Warmblood” has caused a great deal of confusion among horse owners, even experienced and knowledgeable breeders. Essentially, a warmblood horse is neither a “coldblood”— the draught breeds like the Shire or Clydesdale — nor a “hotblood” — the thoroughbreds and Arab breeds. Put simply, a warmblood horse is a mixture of coldblood and hotblood breeds but is not a breed unto itself.
Warmblood horses came from the desire for a horse that could be ridden into battle at speed but was also capable of carrying heavy loads. Draught horses and Arab breeds were not suited for this purpose, and the warmblood evolved as a result. As time passed, horses were no longer needed in war or agriculture due to the introduction of machines, and the warmblood breed morphed into solely riding and sports horses. Warmbloods are nowadays most commonly used in dressage and showjumping, the most common breeds being the Holsteiner and Hanoverian.
In this article, we’ll look at 28 of the most well-known warmblood horse breeds. Let’s get started!
The 28 Warmblood Horse Breeds
1. American Albino Horse
The term Albino is somewhat of a misnomer, as the American Albino horse is not genetically an albino — albinism is fatal in horses. These horses are actually chestnut animals that are affected by a champagne dilution gene, resulting in a creamy white animal that often has freckles. They are thought to have descended from Arabian or Morgan breeds, and the color has now been given registry as a breed in the United States.
2. American Bashkir Curly Horse
Little is known about the origins of the American Bashkir Curly, but the development of the modern Bashkir is more clear. This horse carries a unique gene that gives them a curly coat, but they are also known for their calm, intelligent, and friendly personality. They are known to be hypoallergenic, so most people with horse allergies can happily live with them.
3. American Indian Horse
The American Indian Horse is a descendant of the horses originally brought to America by the Spanish and may carry the ancestry of the Spanish Barb, Arabian, Mustang, and Appaloosa. They are popular horses for trail riding and horse shows and come in any coat color.
4. American Saddlebred Horse
Commonly referred to as “the horse that America made,” the American Saddlebred was developed into their modern types in Kentucky and used extensively as an officer’s mount during the Civil War. They are known for their gentle yet spirited temperament and are commonly used as show horses and for pleasure riding.
5. Andalusian Horse
The Andalusian is one of the oldest pure Spanish horse breeds and is regarded as Europe’s first warmblood. They are an excellent all-around breed, commonly used for dressage and showjumping, with a calm temperament and reliable nature. These horses are technically not warmbloods in the traditional sense, but because of their stamina and agility, they are often regarded and used as such.
6. Appaloosa Horse
Best known for their colorful spotted coat, the Appaloosa is an American horse breed that is one of the most popular in the country. They are used extensively for show jumping, fox hunting, and casual trail riding, as well as endurance riding competitions, making them quite versatile.
7. AraAppaloosa Horses
A cross between the Appaloosa and Arabian breeds, the AraAppaloosa is popular for their intelligence, endurance, and performance capabilities. They excel at endurance riding, ranch work, and show riding, as well as the disciplines performed by both their parent breeds.
8. Australian Stock Horse
Bred especially for harsh Australian conditions, the Australian Stock Horse is a hardy breed that is popular for their endurance, agility, and even-tempered personality. They are used today in a wide variety of disciplines, including polo, dressage, showjumping, and endurance riding, and for stock work on cattle farms.
Hailing from Mexico, the Azteca is a powerful, well-muscled horse known for their superior athletic capabilities. They are commonly used in Western riding events and dressage and polo, and they are commonly used for pleasure and trail riding. They were developed from the Andalusian, American Quarter Horse, and Criollo bloodlines.
10. Banker Horse
The Banker Horse is a breed of feral horse that is most noted for their docile temperament and hardy, small body size. They are mostly used for pleasure riding and driving, and with their calm and gentle disposition, they are commonly used for children’s mounts. They are thought to be descended from domesticated Spanish horses brought to the Americas in the 16th century.
An ancient breed of horse hailing from the Camargue region in France, the Camargue is widely considered as one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. The area in which the breed was developed made them highly agile and hardy with tons of stamina, traits that the breed is still revered for today. They are commonly used for livestock management, dressage, and long-distance riding.
As the name suggests, the Canadian is a strong, well-muscled horse breed hailing from Canada and is usually used for driving and leisure riding. The exact origins of the breed are still largely unknown, although their ancestry is thought to have included Bretons, Normans, Arabians, Andalusians, and Barbs.
13. Canadian Sport Horse
Known for their excellent jumping abilities, durability, and ease of trainability, the Canadian Sport Horse is commonly used for dressage, jumping, and endurance, and even hunting on occasion. The bred is relatively new and was developed in the late 19th century by crossing local horses with English thoroughbreds.
14. Cleveland Bay
The Cleveland Bay horse originated in England in the 17th century and is the oldest established horse breed in England. They are highly versatile animals used today for a wide variety of tasks, including driving, farm work, pulling carriages, and hunting. They are a rare breed, with only an estimated 550 horses registered worldwide.
The Criollo is a horse breed native to the Pampas, an area in South America between Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. They are popular in their home countries due to their incredible stamina and hardiness, and they have a reputation for unsurpassed long-distance endurance due to their low basal metabolism. They are small, muscular, and strong animals with good disease resistance.
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16. Dutch Warmblood
Hailing from the Netherlands, the Dutch Warmblood is a popular horse in showjumping and dressage, winning a few Olympic gold medals in these areas. A Dutch Warmblood stallion was famously used in “The Lord of the Rings” movies, and the breed is one of the most successful competition horses developed in Europe.
17. Florida Cracker Horse
Developed in Florida in the United States, the Florida Cracker Horse is known for both their agility and speed and is genetically and physically similar to many other Spanish-style horses. The breed almost went extinct in the early 20th century but was brought back from the brink by a few dedicated families. However, they are still at a critical point, with only 200-300 breeding mares in existence.
A Dutch horse breed developed for draft and agricultural work, the Groningen is a calm and even-tempered horse that is well known as an all-around family animal. They are long-lived, quick to mature, and easy to look after, even for novices. Some even compete in dressage and showjumping, making them truly adaptable animals.
19. Hackney Horse
Originally developed in Great Britain, the Hackney Horse is an elegant breed that is popular for showing and harness events, although they have been developed in recent years for carriage driving. They are known for their incredible stamina and can trot at high speeds for surprisingly long periods.
The Hanoverian originated in Germany and can often be seen competing in high levels of competition, including the Olympic Games. They are one of the oldest and most successful warmblood breeds and arguably, one of the most widespread. These horses are revered for their even temperament, beauty, and athleticism. They are commonly used for showjumping, dressage, hunting, and various sporting events.
Originating in Germany, the Holsteiner is thought to be one of the oldest warmblood horse breeds, dating back as far as the 13th century. They are highly versatile animals, dominating the world of showjumping despite their small population and excelling at dressage, driving, and eventing. They are known to be reliable, bold, and dependable horses.
22. Irish Draught
The national horse breed of Ireland, the Irish Draught was developed primarily for farm use but is now a popular horse in showjumping and eventing. They are widely used in policing due to their even temperament, reliability, and strength. They are commonly crossbred with Thoroughbreds and other warmbloods to produce high-quality sport horses.
Known for their unique coat patterning that includes solid, leopard spots, and many variants in between, the Knabstruner was first established in Denmark in 1812. They excel in dressage and show jumping and as carriage horses. They are commonly used for pleasure riding too, due to their calm and easily trainable temperaments.
The Lipizzaner is an old breed, dating back to the 16th century, and was first developed in Lipizza, a small village in present-day Slovenia. Today, the breed is commonly used in dressage and driving and has an esteemed place in the renowned Spanish Riding School, where Lipizzaner Stallions are exclusively used.
The Lusitano is a Portuguese horse breed closely related to the Spanish Andalusian. They were originally developed for war, bullfighting, and dressage. Nowadays, they are still used for almost all disciplines except war. They are commonly seen in driving competitions and have won medals in the Olympic games. They are prized for their calm temperaments under pressure and their incredible agility.
An American breed of horse developed by crossing Arabian and Morgan horses, the Morab was created with the intent of developing a carriage horse that could still be used for farm labor. The Morab still retains characteristics of their parent breeds, with large eyes, small ears, and a thick mane and tail.
Known for their exceptional versatility, the Morgan is one of the oldest horse breeds developed in the United States. The breed has been successfully used in a wide variety of disciplines, including dressage, showjumping, endurance, and pleasure riding. In 1961, the Morgan was officially named as the state animal of Vermont and in 1970, the official state horse of Massachusetts.
28. National Show Horse
The National Show Horse is a cross between an American Saddlebred and Arabian, and since 1981, they have been established as a separate breed. They are high-set, upright horses with a swan-like neck and a small, refined head. They are most commonly used for saddle seat riding but are also used for showjumping, dressage, and endurance events.
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