The Dutch Warmblood (KWPN) is a relatively new breed developed from bloodlines from all over Europe. The origins of the Dutch farm workhorse were refined in the 1950s by the introduction of Selle Francais, Holsteiner, and Hanoverian blood. Around the beginning of this century, Dutch Warmblood breeding began shifting from simply creating a riding horse to specialization into dressage-type and jumper-type horses.

Ashley Holzer and Pop Art, a Dutch Warmblood gelding, placed eighth in the Freestyle at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Depending on its bloodlines, abilities and conformation, KWPN horses are registered in one of four categories: jumper, dressage, harness (with a dash of Hackney blood) or Gelder (representative of the original carriage-type horse from Gelderland province).

A rigorous selection system and continuous evaluation of breeding stock includes Keurings, or inspections, which are held in the Netherlands and in North America annually. During these inspections, horses are evaluated and rewarded according to their quality to ensure the continued production of top-quality Dutch horses.


Dutch Warmbloods are substantially-built individuals with attractive heads, alert eyes, medium-sized ears, and long, muscular, and well-set necks. They have a smooth topline, with a level-to-uphill square frame, well-developed long legs, and strong hooves. They are comfortable to ride due to their elastic, flowing gaits, and are bred to have good sport-specific attitudes.

Usually bay or chestnut in colour, grey and black is also possible, as are white face or leg markings. The breed typically stands at 16 hands or over; to be registered, mares must be at least 15.2 hands and stallions at least 15.3 hands. While there is no upper height limit, conformation and quality must not be compromised.


The Dutch Warmblood excels at show jumping, dressage, driving, and eventing at the top levels of the sport. In 2018, the breed continued to lead the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses rankings in all three categories: Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. Moorlands Totilas (pictured above with Edward Gal) is one of the most famous KWPN dressage stallions in history.

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Royal Dutch Sport Horse

Mac Cone and Ole, a Dutch Warmblood gelding, were part of Canada’s show jumping team silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.