Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Warmblood registries: Where are they from, where are they going?

If you've read even a little, you know that warmbloods are not breeds the way, say, the thoroughbred is a breed. In order to be a thoroughbred, both the mother and father must also be a registered thoroughbred. Not so with most warmblood registries. Registries are more about developing a type of horse; they are not usually concerned with purity of bloodlines (whatever that means these days). However, to be included in a registry a horse owner must be able to establish the horse's bloodlines and pedigree for three or four generations.

I've read a couple of books on warmblood registries, including International Warmblood Horse : A Worldwide Guide to Breeding and Bloodlines and The Warmblood Guidebook. I wanted to get some history and background, sure, but mostly I wanted to figure out why there are different warmblood registries, aside from historical precedent. Can you tell one type of warmblood from another? Why do some people seem to prefer a particular type of warmblood?

Why ask why?
I started my research out of self-interest, as a potential warmblood horse buyer -- which type of warmblood would suit me best? But after several years of reading, going to inspections, and attending breed shows, it's easier for me to see differences among bloodlines than among the various registries. However, many breeders maintain that there are differences, though they're subtle. My eye may not be developed enough, or maybe I just don't know enough yet.

What is true is that that different registries run their breeding programs differently. Each registry has its own standards, practices, and goals. It stands to reason that the horses in each registry would be different -- doesn't it? So how would, how should, the horse buyer use this information to inform his or her horse purchase? This is going to be a multi-part series on warmbloods, focusing on what makes each registry unique.

Coming up next: German warmbloods: A brief and mostly accurate history...


  1. This is really your topic, and I hope you can help me understand the deal with the registries and the studs here in Germany. As you know, the regions of Germany have their own warmbloods, usually given the name of the state.

    Like if we were to have "Washington Warmbloods", "Oregon Warmbloods", and "Idaho Warmbloods". And a horse would have either a W, O, or I on its hip.

    The people here are fiercely proud of their region's warmblood. They'll tell you right off it's the very best warmblood, and you needn't think about going to another state and looking at theirs. (At least I was told that.)

    So what's the deal with the state studs? I think at some point, (a war?) the government decided that these warmbloods were something worthy of state protection, and started investing resources (money) into protecting them and ensuring the quality through the inspection process. How involved is the government with horse breeding in Germany? Is it still at all?

    It's not just warmbloods, it's Arabs too, and I'm ashamed to say I don't know the story here. Is it subsidized horse breeding?

    I wish I understood this, I live here for pityssake.

    I do know one thing - horses are ridiculously expensive here. There should be no overpopulation problem when the average price of a 15 year old unregistered riding horse is 2K euros.

    ~lytha in the land of the Westfalen

  2. I know very, very little about horses but I find your blog very interesting .... thank you.

  3. GREAT topic Stacey. I just bought a warmblood cross and am curious as to if I can get him registered as an american warmblood since I have established bloodlines for well over four generation. He has wonderful confirmation and a great disposition. I think he would do fabulously at an inspection: but how much do bloodlines matter? Thanks for bringing up this topic. I hope to do more research myself.

  4. Hey- great to find a blog about an outdoor topic, rather than shopping or keeping house or writing a blog. Ride on!

  5. This should be an interesting series. I'm a big fan of the warmbloods, especially the Dutch. Which my boy Erik was and my daughter also has a Dutch.


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