The Warlander Horse
The Warlander belongs to the category of ‘baroque breeds’ as it has descended from and retained the distinctive characteristics of a particular type of horse that was found in Europe during the Baroque era. These breeds include the Warlander horse’s foundation - Friesian, Andalusian (PRE), Lusitano and Menorquin.
The baroque type and its use
The ‘baroque’ in type is most importantly in the Warlander horse. The distinctive characteristics that define a ‘baroque horse’ such as powerful hindquarters, a muscular, arched neck, noble head with a large kind eye and a full, thick mane and tail are fundamental elements of the Warlander horse. The Warlander is a round, wide, close coupled and compact horse with good depth of bone who is suited to the art of Classical Equitation for which it was initially developed.
The Warlander will suit riders who want a horse of easy nature and comfortable ride and is suited to a wide range of pursuits including dressage (Classical and competition), driving, and some aspects of Western or the perfect pleasure mount for children and adults alike.
A well-bred Warlander should have a natural cadence in its movement and whilst their movement is expressive it is not too much that it loses its comfortableness for the rider. Whilst their preferred height is between 15.1hh and 16hh their substantial girth will lend well to the rider with a longer leg.
The first impression of a well-bred Warlander horse is one of a ‘romantic’ looking animal - beautiful, harmonious with a noble bearing. The Warlander horse’s substantial bone and roundness is coupled with an agility and light expressive movement. They are willing to please and docile of nature.
The Warlander belongs to a 'closed' studbook meaning no 'outside' blood is allowed other than its base breeds. In order to be officially recognised as a Warlander, the horse must have full paperwork (registration papers) from the mother studbook (WSS) who owns and manages the Warlander breed standard and the global Warlander database. This paperwork will verify not only the horse's lineage but place it within the appropriate appendix within the studbook.
Colouring of the Warlander horse is always solid (no broken colour or spots allowed) and only those colours which are registered in the mother studbooks of the base breeds are allowed. Warlander horses are usually grey, black and bay however dilute colours such as buckskin and palomino have been bred. The Warlander horse is moving into the third generation of breeding (F3) and is seeing consistency in type through well thought out pairings of F1 and F2 horses. The breed is unique in that it must be racially correct in its first generation (50/50%).
With Warlander breeding – taller is not better as the ‘type’ (roundness and bone) can be lost. First-generation Warlander horses can obtain a 'hybrid vigour' often making them taller than their parents. Hybrid vigour can be a double-edged sword in Warlander breeding because if the horse loses its type it will not pass the breed standard.
Within the Warlander horses base breeds, there is an emergence of ‘modern’ types that are finer, leggier – often hotter of temperament but possess more Sports Aptitude than the classic types.
To this end, the closed Warlander Studbook will stay true to the breeds type and for those wanting a longer-legged, more sport orientated horse whilst still retaining the ideals (type and temperament) of the purebred Warlander horse we have opened a new studbook – Warlander Sport Horse which is open for up to 25% outside blood.
The Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands.
It is believed that purebred Spanish stallions were bred to mares native to the Netherlands (Friesian) during this time.
Whilst many theorise that the pure Friesian x pure Iberian horse could have been bred before this it has been difficult to find such evidence that can substantiate that definitively". There have however been references made such as in the Dutch book titled “Het Friese Paard” by G. J. A. Bouma, 1979, and printed by Friese Pers Boekerij, b. v., in Drachten and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands where the author says, "The Friesian horse descends from the Equus robustus. During the 16th and 17th centuries, but probably also earlier, Arabian blood was introduced, especially through Andalusian horses from Spain. This has given them the high knee-action, the small head, and the craning neck".
1990 saw the first pure Spanish Andalusian pure Friesian breeding with Karen Maree Kaye of the Classical Sporthorse Stud in Western Australia purposely developing the breed, penning the first breed standard and naming the horse - Warlander. The naming of Warlander had nothing to do with the base breed's history in battles as some have claimed but came from the name "Warwick" who was Karen Maree's veterinarian.
With a love of Classical Equitation and baroque horses, in general, she was looking to blend both breeds to create a horse with more Sport Aptitude.
It goes without saying that the Friesian breed has improved greatly in this area over the past 30 years but over the next couple of decades Karen Maree was approached by others who embraced her idea and from that the first mother studbook for the breed - International Warlander Society and Registry was created by Nia Ridley of Miraval Andalusians (USA).
Constance Davenport of Immortal Farms went on to manage IWSR until its closure in September 2012. Both ladies were instrumental in the Warlander horse's development in North America and Constance took the Warlander past the first generation proving that Warlander to Warlander (F2) breeding 'did' produce the same type and quality as the first generation (F1).
After the IWSR's closure, the Warlander Studbook Society was developed by Karen Maree Kaye and all IWSR registrations passed to the new global Mother Studbook for the Warlander horse.
Instrumental to the breed’s development and recognition in Europe is Alexandra Green of Green-Horn Ranch (Warlander-Franken) in Bavaria.
Alexandra put her full efforts into achieving full paperwork according to European standards for the breed. This was attained in 2010 with the Bayerischer Zuchtverband fuer Kleinpferde und Spezialrassen. Alexandra also saw the importance of breeding the Warlander past F1 and worked tirelessly for many years to achieve successful Warlander to Warlander breeding; again proving that the F2 horses did not lose any size, vigor or phenotype of the first generation.
Warlander horses in Europe are judged by the European judging system, which classifies horses up to breeding approval including performance testing.
Alexandra’s young stallion Anubis von Greenhorn was the first Warlander stallion in the world to achieve breeding approval status through this system in 2012.
Whilst Warlander horses have evolved in a huge geographical area, the breed has generally remained consistent in type due to the strict regulations of the mother studbooks for the base breeds and the Warlander studbook.
In 2018, WSS recognised the FPZV USA judging results for Warlander horses and the F2 Warlander stallion Taboo JRB owned and bred by Regine Brockway became the first 'first premium graded' Approved breeding stallion in USA.
By the end of 2019, USA had five Warlander stallions all approved for breeding by the Warlander Studbook Society including the incomparable Hummer and his F2 son Inqueito RAM both bred by Ramiro Meija of Vaquero Ranch. Inqueito Ram is now owned by Morgan Moore.
In 2019, the Australian Continental Equestrian Group - a member of World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) agreed to test Warlander horses in Australia for premiums and breeding approval based on the WSS Breed Standard and issue passports for Warlander horses in Europe (and internationally).
Today, the breed is registered in over a dozen countries worldwide.
In the USA in 2011, Hummer’ became the IFSHA World Grand Champion Stallion. Used extensively for commercial work including the face for Guerlian’s men's fragrance ‘Habit Rouge’ he also appeared in the Lord of the Rings, a Chevy commercial, music video and print works.
In Australia, Shepherds Hill Larry became the first Warlander to receive a SPORT predicate after he won an Advanced World Cup Level National Championship in 2011. The next year he went on to show his ability under saddle on the USA pilot movie ‘Frontier’.
In 2015, Ray Ariss (USA) who bred the Warlander mare 'Sabrina' owned by Karen Mitchell - rode to her five World Championship wins at her first show.
Some 'cow sense' was inherited as proven by F2 Warlander gelding IF Michaelangelo who at his first national USA show, won multiple half Iberian titles in various disciplines such as Reining, Western Pleasure and Open English Show Hack as well as the High Point All Round National Title and two gold medals for Movement to boot.
In late 2019, the Warlander Studbook Society started a new Open Studbook called Warlander Sport Horse to encourage the breeding of horses with more Sport Aptitude. Whilst the Warlander Studbook remains closed to outside blood the new studbook will allow 25% outside blood whilst still retaining the Warlander horse's type and temperament.
All information retrieved from (2020)