Warmbloods are a group of middle-weight horse types and breeds, primarily originating in Europe, registered with organizations that are characterized by open studbook policy, studbook selection, and the aim of breeding for equestrian sport. The term distinguishes these horses from both heavy draft horses (”cold bloods”) and refined light saddle horses such as the Thoroughbred and Arabian (”hot bloods”). Though modern Warmbloods are descended from heavier agricultural types systematically upgraded by hotblood influence, the term does not imply that Warmbloods are direct crosses of “cold” and “hot”. It is thought that the Warmblood type, which originated in continental Europe, descended from a landrace of wild, native proto-warmblood ancestors, and possibly trace back to a wild prototype called the Forest Horse. The best-known German Warmbloods are the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg and the purebred Trakehner. Others include the Württemberger, Rhinelander, Westphalian, Zweibrücker, Brandenburger, Mecklenburger, and Bavarian Warmblood.
A Hanoverian is a warmblood horse originating in Germany, which is often seen in the Olympic Games and other competitive English riding styles, and have won gold medals in all three equestrian Olympic competitions. It is one of the oldest, most numerous, and most successful of the warmbloods. Originally a carriage horse, infusions of Thoroughbred blood lightened it to make it more agile and useful for competition. The Hanoverian is known for a good temperament, athleticism, beauty, and grace.
Today, the Hanoverian breeders’ association offers many incentives to breed the best, including the famous auctions at Verden, and extensive grading opportunities for stallions, mares and young horses. In addition, few breeds have such well-kept records, allowing the breeders to trace bloodlines over many generations, improving their chances to find the best stallion-mare match. The current aim of the breeders today is to create a noble, versatile warmblood with light, elastic, and ground-covering gaits. The strict selection ensures that Hanoverians are athletic and good jumpers, for show jumping and eventing, and have the gaits for dressage.