Name of breed: Danish Warmblood
Country of origin: Denmark
Breed origin: The Danish Warmblood was dreamed up by breeders in Denmark to fill a gap in the nation’s horse breeding efforts. Denmark had two fantastic driving breeds, the Frederiksborg and the Knabstrupper, but no purpose-bred riding horse. So in 1962, the Danish Warmblood association and studbook were formed with the intention of breeding a superior sport horse. Denmark already had a variety of mares at its disposal, so the focus was on importing the highest quality stallions, most of which were Swedish Warmbloods, Trakehners, Hanoverians and Holsteiners. These bloodlines were combined with those of the Frederiksborg, Anglo-Norman and Thoroughbred and in a remarkably short time, a fairly consistent type was established. The Danish Warmblood soon lived up to breeders’ high expectations, proving to be an exceptional sport horse with excellent conformation, scope, substance, speed and strength. The key to the breed’s fast development is said to be the extremely scrupulous selection of stallions. At the annual licensing event, of the 300-odd horses presented for inspection, only around 25 are granted a breeding licence, which is only valid for one year!
Distinguishing features: Due to the variety of bloodlines present in this young breed, there is a fair amount of variation in the appearance of Dutch Warmbloods. However, they all have a lean, refined outline, balanced conformation and an attractive head. They have long, strong legs, well-sloped shoulders, a muscular, medium-length neck, pronounced withers, a broad, deep chest and a strong, compact back. They can stand anywhere from 15 hands high to upwards of 17 hands, and come in all solid colours. Dutch Warmbloods have excellent temperaments, being eager to please, trainable, spirited, courageous and intelligent. Their action is supple and harmonious, with natural impulsion.
Modern day Danish Warmblood: A highly sought-after sport horse, the Danish Warmblood is enjoying great success in international-level dressage and show jumping, as well as cross country and eventing. The five-day Danish Warmblood Stallion Show has become one of the biggest events on the European performance horse calendar. About 3,500 foals are registered every year and the breed is gradually becoming more prevalent not just in Europe, but in the United States and Australia, too.
Image credits: Mulawa Performance, Eurodressage.