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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Grade Warmblood Sport Horse   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Warmblood Sport is not a breed, but rather a type of horse which is geared toward athletics activities, especially show-jumping, dressage, and cross-country. Warmblood Sport horses are considered to be a recent phenomenon, because most of them were created in the 20th century. There's one exception for this case, and that is the Irish Sport Horse, which was created in the 18th century.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, horses served as the main form of transportation in most societies, by serving as riding mounts and by pulling carriages and wagons. However, when private cars and public transportation became prevalent, many carriage-horse breeds were left redundant, and their numbers declined. At the same time, the demand for sport horses excelling in show jumping, dressage, and cross-country rose dramatically, especially following the inclusion of these sports in the Olympic games.

In an effort to save the old carriage-horse breeds, many breed associations decided to cross their horses with Thoroughbreds, in order to make these heavier breeds lighter and more athletic. This attempt was proven to be successful, and today many of these breeds excel in the Olympic disciplines. Examples of such breeds are the Dutch Warmblood, the Hanoverian, and the Holsteiner.

Over the years, prize money for equestrian sports increased, as well as the prestige associated with it, and as such Warmblood Sport horses became even more popular. Therefore, many countries, mostly in Europe, established their own registry for sport horses. In addition, some countries started to cross native breeds with various Warmblood Sport horses, in order to create native Warmblood Sport horses of their own. Examples of such breeds are the Austrian Warmblood, the Danish Warmblood, and the Westphalian. Other countries crossed various warmblood sport breeds with each other, rather than with native breeds, in order to achieve the same goal. Example of such breeds are the American Warmblood, the British Warmblood, and the Finnish Warmblood.

Regardless of their origin, all Warmblood Sport horses share the following characteristics: a straight profile, a long neck, a deep chest, and prominent withers. In addition, most Sport warmbloods also have a "square frame", which means that they are as high off the ground as they are from shoulders to tail. Finally, they can be large in size, but they are not heavy.

Warmblood Sport horses almost always come in solid colors, especially bay, brown, black, chestnut, and grey, but other colors and patterns can be seen from time to time, with the most common pattern being tobiano. Warmblood Sport horses stand between 14.2hh and 17.2hh.

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