Danish Warmblood Horse Origin and Characteristics

The Danish Warmblood is the youngest of the warmblood breeds that have come out of Europe. For the first decade of this breed, there were two associations that helped to create its foundation. The Danish Sport Horse Society and the Danish Light Horse Association would eventually merge in 1978 to form the Danish Warmblood Society. 

Before 1980, this breed was often referred to as the Danish Sports Horse. For a horse to qualify for breeding, it must pass what is called a 100-Day Test. Horses are inspected to determine if they have the easy riding skills, a competitive aptitude, and physical conformation to breed standards that would help to make the Danish Warmblood stronger as the horse ages.

About 3,500 new registries occur annually for this breed

What Is the History of the Danish Warmblood?

The Danish Warmblood is a recent edition to the equine world. It was developed by breeding elite stallions from European bloodlines to Danish mares to create what can only be described as a modern sport horse. The first Danish Warmbloods began to appear around 1962.

Most horses within this breed are produced through Thoroughbred and local Frederiksborg stock. The mares from this breeding effort were then bred to Trakehners, Thoroughbreds, and Anglo-Normans to produce the sporting traits that are so highly desired and with consistent conformation.

Although this is a relatively young breed, it is represented in international competition on a regular basis. They have excelled in dressage and show jumping. Outside of Europe, this breed is relatively rare, but a North American Danish Warmblood association was established in 2001 to promote the breed in the Americas.

The initial goal of creating the Danish Warmblood was to create a horse that could be an all-around superior sporting horse. After seeing this breed excel in show jumping and dressage, breeding efforts have now started to focus on these events specifically to continue building on the strengths of the breed.

What Are the Characteristics of the Danish Warmblood?

Like most European warmblood breeds, the Danish Warmblood is a tough, robust, and resilient horse. In the mid-20th century, what was missing from European warmblood breeds was versatility and flexibility. That was the primary reason why work was done to establish this breed after World War II.

Because of its recent establishment, the Danish Warmblood has more of a Thoroughbred outline than its own. These horses stand between 15.3-17 hands high, with some a little taller, and they can have any solid coat color. Chestnut, bay, black, and dark brown tend to be the most common colors for the breed.

They have excellent strength, good legs, and movement that has a superior level of substance to it. Registered horses may be branded with a wave that is topped with a crown. Their frame is larger than average, but the breed has a head that is well-defined and large eyes that have a certain wisdom behind them. 

The shoulders are longer than normal with a good slope that has definition. Pronounced withers give riders a favorable position on the back which has little natural bounce to it. 

The ride of the Danish Warmblood is like that of a Thoroughbred as well. There is more substance to the ride, however, but there is also a certain elegance to their movement. The length of rein is excellent, even with the muscular neck on this horse, while the back is strong and more compact than average.

Danish Warmbloods are very curious horses, but there is a certain courage behind their actions as well. This courage helps them to excel in competition, while their curiosity helps them to learn new skills with rapid accuracy. This combination can get a Danish Warmblood that is lonely, bored, or inactive into all sorts of trouble, so daily activities and social interactions are highly recommended for this breed.

How the Danish Warmblood Continues to Grow

The Danish Warmblood Society is the largest horse breeding federation currently in Denmark. More than 5,000 members currently make up its roles. To help promote the breed, the Society helps to organize member activities, finish horse tests and inspections, and select only the best foals each year for the stud book.

Because only the best horses are approved for breeding, ongoing testing is often required for the breed. This helps to guarantee that the Danish Warmblood will continue to be a high-quality breed in the future. 

The breed continues to thrive thanks to the husbandry procedures and initiatives that have been established over the centuries in Denmark. Throughout history, Denmark has had some of the most stringent selection procedures in Europe. That specificity was taken to another level when creating the foundation for this breed and that has allowed this young breed to establish itself rather quickly.

The Danish Warmblood may be a young breed, but it has quickly established itself as a dominant force in the competitive arena. These horses are easy to handle, extremely loyal, and ready to learn something new every day. That is why the future for this breed holds a lot of promise.