Photo Credit: Horse Source Ltd KWPN North America

Most warmblood "breeds" are continuing to evolve. In fact, they are not "breeds" in the sense that Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Morgans, and Saddlebreds are breeds - they do not have "closed studbooks". "Outside blood" is taken into the gene pool now and then to reap the benefits of hybrid vigor, and to speed and improve the evolutionary process of attaining the "Breeding Goal" of the particular studbook.

The Dutch Warmblood is no exception. The Dutch horse is a modern sport horse derived from the selective breeding of German, French and English horses crossed with the native Dutch stock. The main Dutch breeds in the last century were the Gelderlander of Southern Holland, and the Groninger of Northern Holland. The Groninger was the same horse as the early German Oldenburgs, and similar to the present Danish Oldenbourg. Over the last 200 years there have been frequent infusions of "foreign" blood - from France, Hannover, East Prussia, England, as well as Arab and Thoroughbred blood.

The changes over the generations have reflected the needs of the times - carriage horses, war horses, farm horses, transportation, recreation. The KWPN now recognizes three distinct breeding directions: the riding horse, the harness horse (Tuigpaard) and the Gelders horse. Riding horses, by far the largest group of the three, are bred to excel in the disciplines of dressage and jumping, although they are frequently seen in other disciplines, such as combined driving.

The Gelders horse is an elegant horse descending from the traditional Gelders type. Gelders horses are versatile performers in harness and under saddle and are characterized by their enthusiastic show performance and willing temperament.

With his proud carriage and flashy, powerful movement, the KWPN harness horse is uniquely bred to perform in driving competitions and in harness horse classes.

Annually about 10,000 foals are born in Holland (compared to about 60,000 in Germany, 5,000 in Sweden, and 14,000 in France - the major sporthorse breeding countries). These horses supply the domestic market, but like most Dutch agricultural products, are also an important export product. In a relatively short time the "modernized" Dutch sport horse has rocketed to international competitive importance. Dutch warmblood horses, famous for their character, soundness and athletic ability, are exported to all corners of the globe, and are international winners under the flags of many different nations in international competitions and Olympic Games.

For questions or comments contact the editor, KWPN-NA.