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Westphalians For USA
Partial Information Supplied By:
This breed is classified as a warmblood and is good at dressage and riding. These horses are very refined and elegant, with slender legs, a
straight profile, and a well-balanced body. These animals come in solid dark colors.
This breed is very rare in the USA; it
originated in Westphalia and was exported to the USA only in the 20th century. It is very difficult to find a breeder who works with this breed
and purebred horses are very expensive.
The history of the Westphalian horse is linked with the State Stud of Warendorf, which was founded in 1826 to serve both the Prussian
provinces of Westphalia and Rheinland. The stud was built under the Prussian Stud Administration, which was put together by King Frederick William I in 1713
to improve horse breeding efforts in the German-speaking region. Government-owned studs, identified as "State" or "Principal" studs depending on whether the
facility keeps its own herd of mares, purchase stallions that fit the needs of the surrounding region. The stud fees of state-owned stallions are low, enabling
local breeders to produce high-quality horses from heavy drafts to riding horses to ponies.
The first stallions to stand at Warendorf were from East
Prussia, and so were similar to Trakehners of the time. These horses were riding horses with Thoroughbred blood, suitable for the courtiers to ride and use in
cavalry. As the human population between the Rhine and Weser rivers grew, the demand shifted to a medium-heavy all-purpose farm horse to cope with the increase in
agriculture. The noble East Prussian stallions were replaced with heavy warmbloods from Oldenburg and East Frisia.
The turn of the 20th century saw the
heavy warmbloods outdone in the region by the more suitable Rhenish Cold Blood. These horses were better able to pull heavy plows and artillery, and so while
they were principally bred around the Wickrath State Stud, warmblood sires at Warendorf were gradually replaced by cold bloods. The revolutions in automotive
and agricultural technology that these heavy horses helped make possible made them obsolete in turn. In 1957 the Wickrath State Stud was dissolved as the heavy
horses fell out of favor. The stock of warmblood horses was replenished with mares and stallions from nearby Hannover, on which the modern Westphalian is based.
The Federal Riding School was incorporated to the state stud in 1968. It is the site of the training and examination of nationally-licensed professional riders
and instructors, and is also home to the German Equestrian Olympic Committee. Warendorf also hosts stallion performance tests annually.
No behavioral information available.
The strict selection procedure applied to breeding stock ensures that Westphalians are generally free of congenital diseases. They are usually sound and long-lived
Westphalians are bred to be suitable for pleasure riding and competitive in dressage and show jumping. Westphalian breeding has produced a number of sires
very influential to sport horse breeding, including Polydor and his half brother Pilot, and Rubinstein. These families are significant for jumping and dressage respectively. Westphalians
are also popular in North America in show hunter competition.
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