The origin country of the Austrian Warmblood is Austria in an area that is known for creating find horseflesh. The main Association of the breed has a long history and is made up of many country’s dressage and show jumping horses. To be registered in the Association of Warmblood Breeding in Austria (AWO) (Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Warmblutzucht in Osterreich), a horse has to meet rigorous inspections. The breed has been considered to be one of the most talented of all worldwide Warmblood breeds.
They descended from several Austrian cavalry horses brought from all around the world: Nonius, Furioso and Arabian, which later in the 19th century were crossed with Thoroughbred and more Arabian blood in order to refine the breed. The history of the breed begins from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a period in 18th century when these two countries had great horse breeding programs. They intended to produce horses with different skills for the citizens, nobility and the military. The stud farms were located in modern-day Hungary, at Mezohegyes and Bablona. In Mezohegyes was produced the Nonius horse breed that had similar characteristics with the western Heavy Warmbloods and was mainly founded for the needs of the citizens and the military as farm horses and for pulling artillery wagons. Later in 1840s, Thoroughbred stallions were crossed with Nonius mares in order to refine the breed and produce great cavalry mounts and carriage horses.
A part-Arabian gray stallion Shagya was brought in Bablona in 1836 and was crossed with native mares to achieve cavalry goals. Thus he was major founding sire of the Shagya Arabian breed. On the other hand, a chestnut Arabian stallion Gidran was crossed with mares that were more of Thoroughbred type and thus founded the Gidran Anglo-Arabian breed. All these horses were referred as Old-Austrian Horse Breed and formed the native mare base on which later was founded the Austrian Warmblood.
In an attempt to retain and promote this breed in 1964- The Association for Warmblood Breeding in Austria was founded. In the Stud book is clearly written how strict and rigorous standards are:
-Desirable is a noble, long-lined, correct and powerful Warmblood horse with good movement and jumping ability, suited to any type of recreational riding. The breeding aim shall be achieved through a comprehensive system of performance tests for mares and stallions, leading to improved selection for dressage or jumping qualities. Of great importance for the Austrian Warmblood breeders are ride ability, good character, willingness, and balanced temperament.
-As anywhere else in the world, since the Second World War was ended and the mechanization has replaced horses, the need for cavalry and farm horse was decreased thus horses’ numbers too.
As we said the Austrian Warmblood comes from mare base of several horse breeds such as Nonius, Furioso, Shagya and Gidran, hence the diversity in the breed and the distinctive types.
All breeding stock must meet certain standards such as height must be at least 15.2 hands, but the ideal height is 16-16.2 hands. No rule without exception, so Shagya Arabians are permitted to stand 14.3 hands. Ponies, trotters, gaited and other horses are not allowed to be registered in AWO. Austrian Warmblood can be in any color and markings, but the most common are chestnut, bay, grey and black. It’s most important to match in harness configuration. The names of the horses are beginning with the same first letter as their same sex parent, unlike in the past, when most horses had their family names plus a Roman or Arabic number. The most recognizable sign is their brand, which is in a form of a stylized -A-, located on their left hip.
Solve a puzzle of a courageous, sporty horse breed. Match the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle by using your mouse and see an image of a breed that is outstanding in competitive dressage, show jumping and recreational riding. These 2,500 mares and 80 stallions are registered in the AWO, which is member of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. Play and have fun!