Westphalian breed information
Westphalian horse general information
COLORThe Westphalian registry, or verband, does not discriminate on color or markings, however, colors other than black, bay, chestnut, and grey are rare
SIZEWestphalians usually stand between 15.2 to 17.2 hh
WEIGHTWeight between 1000 - 1300 lbs ( 455 - 590 kg).
USESWestphalians are bred to be suitable for competitive and pleasure riding in dressage and show jumping.
Some people also like to ride them in the hunt field, taking advantage of their intelligence, athleticism, and good nature. A well trained Westphalian is suitable for riders at a wide range of skill levels, although the horses will of course perform better with experienced riders. For young riders who are considering pursuit of equestrian sports as a career, a Westphalian can be a valuable and dependable companion.
INFLUENCERhinelander and Hanoverian
TEMPRERAMENTCalm, reliable and very friendly
The Westphalian or Westfalen horse is a breed of German warmblood with a long and illustrious history. Next to the Hanoverian horse, the Westphalian is probably one of the most well known warmblood breeds, and the size of its studbook is second only to that of the Hanoverians, featuring an incredibly diverse array of mares and stallions which meet its exacting standards. These horses are well suited to equestrian sports, especially dressage and jumping, and a number of horses in Olympic competition are Westphalians.
Westphalians are bred to the same standard as the other German warmbloods and in particular exchange a great deal of genetic material with the nearby Rhinelander and Hanoverian. The standard for all German riding horses calls for an appealing, long-lined, correct riding horse with bold, expansive, elastic gaits, suitable for all types of riding due to its temperament, character, and rideability. The Westphalian's type is less refined than that of a Thoroughbred, but less coarse than that of a "cold blood".
The history of the Westphalian horse is linked with the State Stud of Warendorf, which was founded in 1826 to serve the North Rhine-Westphalian region. 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.
Westphalian health and genetic issues
The strict selection procedure applied to breeding stock ensures that Westphalians are generally free of congenital diseases. They are usually sound and long-lived