Danish Warmblood Breeding Goal: Refined Horses with Durability and Longevity

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 11:20
Danish Warmblood
Poster for the 2020 Danish Warmblood Stallion Licensing

The 2020 Danish warmblood stallion licensing kicked off  in Herning, Denmark, on 5 March 2020 and on the first day the press office sent out a release summarizing the breeding goals and directives of the Danish Warmblood Society

Breeding Goal: Refined Types

The Danish Warmblood society states that its breeding goal is to breed "a refined, tall and supple riding horse with good rideability and health. It has the performance ability in either jumping or dressage and can perform internationally."

"In recent years, stallions that may not quite meet the studbook's breeding goal in terms of refinement have been approved for breeding. However, a large part of the Danish Warmblood mares meet the requirements of refinement and expression entirely," said the spokesperson of the DWB. "Therefore, it makes sense to broaden the supply of stallions by including stallions possessing a high degree of functionality and a strong performance-pedigree, even though they do not fully meet the standards to type."

Licensing committee member Claus Hansen added, "Breeding is constantly evolving and, even though our studbook has a breeding goal, this needs to be adjusted continuously because new breeding knowledge and breeding tools, such as linear scoring and genomic selection, can optimize the breeding. In addition, new reproduction methods become available such as embryo transfer, ICSI, etc., which will place greater demands on the management of in-breeding."

He continued: "As a studbook, one must also consider that the sport is changing, and the horses we breed today are the horses that should reach the top level in 10 years. Thus, the breeding plan is the best bet for the necessary initiatives at this time, but a ten-year period is a long time, also in the horse breeding, where new initiatives can come and others go."

Breeding for Durability and Longevity?!

Modern sport horse breeding often asks for more elasticity and height, but this goes at the cost of durability and health. 

DWB breeding advisor Karina Christiansen explained that, "we want to avoid extreme breeding, and we will be at the forefront of our breeding work. We are beginning to see a tendency for horses that are very long-legged which can have a negative influence on their balance and the durability/longevity of the horse."

She continued: "Neither dressage nor jumping horses should be too raised in the neck and too short in the back, which can make them inflexible in the top line. We also appreciate horses with a small, noble and expressive head, but on the other hand the mouth should not become so small that there is no room for the double bridle."

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