American Warmblood; Your Opinion? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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American Warmblood; Your Opinion?

So apparently there is a HUGE difference in opinion on the AWS(American Warmblood Society) and AWR(American Warmblood Registery).

Half the World is peeved that you can cross a draft and a thoroughbred; get a colt/filly and call it a "Warmblood" and are insulted that they can compare the AWS/AWR standards "similiar to Europes Warmblood Standards/Inspections ETC...

While the other Half of the World is Excited that America is trying to get into the breeding game and breed their own "Warmbloods". It gives backyard breeders and owners a fancy title to slap on to their horses...

What do you Guys think.

Should it be termed Warmblood... Sport Horse... Or Neither...

What about SportHorse Ponies...
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 02:37 AM
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I am going to copy and paste a discussion on this very topic on another forum - from Draft Lovers and Breeders.

I personally, think they are Draft Crosses - no more, no less. They are nothing compareable to the WB which is what it is through hundreds of years of refined breeding - the WB is a sport horse - meant to do the high demanding movements asked of it at top levels in the equestrian world.

The draft cross, is not.

I whole heartedly agree with this poster.................
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 02:37 AM
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"What the draft horse is bred to do is work hard, at a slow pace. Use it's heavy muscle to move heavy things. When we break these horses to ride it's really important to remember that. (Of COURSE the draft is going to be slower than a TB... one was bred for speed the other bred for slow heavy work! It's about the mechanics)

Breeders of the draft horse have created them so that they are smart (so they can easily trained for their job) but non-reactive (dumbed down). Most would rather do too little, than too much when it comes to over-reacting to something, if you think about it, it makes sense - they are built on the same principle of other horses (with a few conformation traits that make it easier for them to do their job but rather limit them for riding)... so what you have is A LOT of weight (Muscle and the sad fact that many are overweight on top of it), on four (relatively speaking) small legs and feet. They aren't ABLE to sprint like a TB - it's simply not possible for them because their musculature and skeletal structure is not built for speed, quick turns, or quick shifts in speed. (Yes, they can run, but they will sweat up, they will be slow and they will tire quickly in comparison)

What we've done in recent times is changed the draft horse's job... but we haven't yet changed the draft horse.

We're now trying to train the draft to do something it's physically not designed to do. It's one thing to ride your draft, and try to get them to move as correctly as possible (this is for their own good)... it's entirely another thing to start comparing them to horses who were BRED to ride.(they'll never stand up to the comparison)

The draft horse's conformation - he generally has a large head with the eye positioned so that he cannot see most of his world ( this is so that when you put the blinkers on he will stay really focused on his job - rather than the outside world)... will he respond to things an Arab might see ? No, probably not, because a lot of the time he'll simply not be aware that those things were there in the first place! Asking the draft to come onto the bit as you would for riding is asking him to take a HUGE leap of faith in his handler (he can't see with his head in that position, so he has to trust his handler... if we go back to the temperament the draft breeder wants, his lack of trust will usually be shown by planting his feet and refusing to move - he'd rather do nothing than do something and get hurt)

He usually has a large ear - to better hear the world around him. Because his vision is rather limited in most cases, being able to hear his handler is a saving grace. Most drafts are trained to harness using voice over anything else.

His neck is generally short, thick and powerfully muscled - this helps him do his job - which has nothing to do with flexibility and everything to do with power.

His shoulder is often steep, with a wide open angle. This will help him do his job... but a steep shoulder slope also means a limited reach to stride - when in harness this creates that flashy "high knee" action... but it's not terribly desirable for riding.

His forelegs are designed to bear the weight of his body, but not really thick enough to bear the weight of his body at speed or to handle the stress of jumping. Everything about his legs were designed to handle the pushing action of his job.

His back and body are generally reasonably compact, with heavy muscling again. This concentrates all of his power in a small area - again, for heavy, slow work. He often has heavy muscling over his loin and croup. He's super wide in most cases to accommodate more muscle translating to more power. His heavy muscling along the spine can make it tougher for him to be flexible through the body, making bending and turns more difficult for him.

His hip and hindquarter were designed to be heavily muscled for his job, and the angles were created to get the most amount of "push". (Harness horses PUSH into harness, they don't PULL) The trade off for these angles is a reduced ability to shift gears or go fast. So you have a horse with a lot of thrusting power, but not much speed or ability to change gaits (which is why a lot of times you'll THINK your horse is pondering your cue, when really they're prepping themselves to make that move...)

The hind legs were designed for that thrusting power, but, the trade off again, is a lack of ability to collect and engage from a riding stand point. (This is from the hip/pelvis down). All four legs are in proportion to the light horse - so while the draft has heavier bone, comparatively those legs are no stronger when it comes to hard work (actually can be less so as many drafts don't have ideal leg conformation).

Internally his heart and lungs are not designed for fast work, or long riding work outs. This is why your draft will have a higher heart-rate after a hard work out then a light horse who just did the same amount of work. This is why your draft will sweat up faster than a light horse doing the same work.

In short, when you ride a draft - or a high % draft cross you really need to remember how he's designed, and consider that as part of your training program.

Then comes their mentality :

Their large size does NOT mean you have to be stronger with them than another horse. I liked the way someone put it to someone at a workshop here - "If I were talking to a little man and a 300 pound woman, would I yell louder at the woman simply because she's bigger?". The problem is that's exactly how people handle them LOUD, so they really learn to tune people out most of the time - and the people in turn call them "thick skinned".

(Another favorite quote of mine is "Yelling louder in English won't help a person speaking German understand you any better" )

People walk up to a draft and think "gentle giant"... a misnomer. They are, in truth, simply a big horse. If you were to handle them as you did a super sensitive horse (say and Arab) you'd find you probably had a super sensitive horse. A HUGE part of how our horse (any breed) responds to us is how we perceive them.

When your cues are clear and easy for the horse to understand and he trusts you, the draft is almost always willing to work. IT was one of the things they were bred for - it would be counter-productive to have a horse that size who DIDN'T want to work. Most drafts have a really good work ethic, provided they trust their handler and their job is clear.

When you put the draft in a ring (for example) with his limited vision (and MOST drafts have this because of the size, position of the eye, and the size of the bone in their face) and then ask him to go forward, try to remember where you are in the ring... if you're near a fence and ask the horse to go forward (or back up) remember that to him, he may be thinking he's going to walk into a wall... therefore go very slowly to make sure he DOESN'T. (Put your hand in front of your face - right in front of your nose... that's about the ability to see that your draft has if it has the typical roman nose!). Now, in many cases people are asking their draft to work in "frame" - there's nothing really wrong with that - but you again, need to consider that vision impairment!

A draft, to see, either needs his head high, or low to get the most range from his eyes... "on the bit" tends to create blind spots for him. Trust trust trust he must have in his rider to do this comfortably.

Then let's take a look at the work we ask these big horses to do under saddle.

These horses are designed to push themselves (and a load) forward, in a relatively straight line... and now we ask them to go in circles. (This puts more strain on their body than it does a light horse)

These horses who are designed to go at a slow steady pace, are now being asked to make transitions... up and down... and while on a circle.

Some go and take these big horses and do things they are entirely unsuitable for - like jumping. Putting MORE stress on their joints, muscles and structure again.

These horses are BIG - and many get ridden in small rings (small for light horses... so really small for big horses who lack flexibility).

Now we sit there and complain the horse doesn't respond quickly, the horse doesn't go at the same speed as a light horse, the horse is ignoring us and being stubborn.... but we rarely ask ourselves WHY that might be. We simply say "He's a draft horse" as if that explains it.

We can get a faster response from the draft horse - if we time our reward/release well (we have two drafts here who are responsive), if we keep a positive and open mind. We'll never get the draft horse to compete on a level with a light horse though. (At least not beyond basic riding and correctness - all horses can be taught to be correct enough to handle basic work... when you start needing more flexibility though the draft is at a disadvantage)

When we look at most draft crosses - we usually see a lot of the draft influence in them... so all of this holds true for many of them as well. (not all, there are some EXCELLENT high % draft crosses out there who have the conformation able to handle riding work of all sorts... but not nearly as many as those who are NOT.)

My point here is not "You should not ride your draft"... my point is that we must set our goals to suit HIM, how he's built, what he was bred for. Don't compare your big, slow horse to a TB, Arab or WB (no, the high % crosses cannot be compared to a WB... they usually carry too many draft traits).

Even an athletic draft simply won't compare to a light horse - they can be great horses, great mounts... great friends... but don't try to make him something he's not, you'll only get frustrated. Enjoy him for what he is - a horse bred to do slow, steady work and enjoy it!"
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post #4 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 02:42 AM
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^Amen to that!

If their goal is a long term breeding to develop a new breed of horse, all the power to them. Go for it. But the first several generations are going to be what they are. Draft crosses. It takes a lot of thought, dedication and time to create a new breed of horse. Generations to refine it.
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MIEventer View Post
"What we've done in recent times is changed the draft horse's job... but we haven't yet changed the draft horse.

Thats what they are doing though, crossing Drafts with Hot/Cold Horses to better improve their conformation. I know of a lot of extremly succesful draft crosses more then capable of doing there job... high % crosses as well. I'm more then certian your not going to find a Clysdale in Eventing or show jumping... but you will find crosses competing succesfully...

There are so many of these succesful horses out there...

Can you seriously tell me that this horse right here

Horseville Horse For Sale - HUGE FLASHY Shire/TB gelding - Ad 192073#

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Is not capable of competing in high level jumping...

because he is a DRAFT cross... look at his movement and his build...

I agree that they shouldnt be called warmbloods... Sport horse fits just fine
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post #6 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 05:01 PM
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I totally agree with Cougar! Existing warmbloods are derived from crossing coldblood draft types with hotter Spanish and Arab breeds. Over time, hundreds of years, in most cases, the breed is refined and comes into its own. The point is not to cross a Belgian with an OT Thoroughbred and call it an American Warmblood (or so I hope...), but to eventually create an all around athelete with the best qualities of its ancestors: the endurance, grace, refinement, and spirit of the hot breeds, and the strength, substance, and temperament of the cold breeds. Until the horses reflect such ideals and have a solid, predictable warmblood phenotype that passes from sire and dam to get, this is not a new breed, but a cross. More power to the breeders, but don't jump the gun.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #7 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 06:32 PM
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Well said Scoutrider.
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 06:41 PM
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I disagree with most of this argument but I'm not going to get started on this topic because I will get too mad :)

What I will say is that Draft crosses always get a bad rap. Not all draft crosses are clunky things that can't represent either breed. My horse is 3/4 TB 1/4 Shire and is MADE to event. She was bred to event, jump, do dressage and she does all three beautifully. I hate it when people look at draft crosses and assume that they are all the clunky types. Most of the heavier draft crosses are 1/2 crosses so no one thinks about the 1/4 crosses. My horse basically looks like a huge TB with better angles. Her dam and her sire were bred together five times before the stallion was gelded (to make a riding horse instead of a hot stud) and all of their get looked pretty much the same. All have the grace, refinement, spirit of the hot breed while having the strength, substance, and temperment of the Shire. I don't ever claim she is a new breed. But I do think she is considered an AWB. She would have been registered with the AWR but she was hurt as a 3 year old and has a calcification on her hind leg, which, while it doesn't affect her gait, means that I would have to jump through hoops to get her registered. To me, it's not worth it.

ETA- no one has ever guessed my horse is a draft cross. I have always gotten the guesses Holsteiner, Hanoverian, or Dutch Warmblood

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Last edited by eventerdrew; 06-11-2009 at 06:45 PM.
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post #9 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 07:15 PM
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There is an "american warmblood" at my barn that I am really impressed with. He is built like a warmblood and is a huge mover, built up hill, carries himself well, and is a super jumper. I am not sure what precentage he is (I think he is a clyde - tb cross of some sort) or how far into the creation of this breed he is, but like I said I think he is a well put together and would be a great poster child for this breed.

I personally think it is kind of cool, but that it defenantly should be carefully regulated to make sure that only the best horses are produced. If you think about it all the european warmbloods were created by carefully crossing the stockier more course "native stock" and the old warhorse type horses with arabs and tbs. They just have had longer to do it and make each breed specific and perfect.
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post #10 of 22 Old 06-11-2009, 07:15 PM
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I've already stated this in other threads, you have a rare find.
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