Characteristics of the Westphalian horse breed


In the north-western lands of Germany, the Westphalian breed of horses was bred, enjoying unchanged success in equestrian competitions in jumping. German horses were tamed for the first time during the late Middle Ages, they underwent a selection path with the injection of blood of purebred stallions, which made it possible to get hardy and beautiful representatives of Westphalian breed. There are similarities with the Hanoverian horses in origin, but with distinction in weight and exterior.

Beginning of the story

In the historical chronicles there are references to an ancient breed of wild horses, walking freely among the expanses of Westphalia in the 15th century. Herds led a free life, adapted to survival in cold climates.

The intervention of people consisted in the periodic catch of stallions for the next knightly campaign or use in economic needs.

The army needed hardy horses, carrying the burdens of trekking, undemanding feeding. Local landowners pledged to supply the army of horses.

The rich Elector (the imperial prince) decided to carry out pedigree work with wild stock to reduce the cost of supplies, not satisfied with the performance of undersized local horses. By order of the rangers, shooting of wild stallions was carried out; expensive East Prussian, Spanish, English, Turkish producers were released for free breeding.

First results and extermination

It was possible to get a new breed of horses, characterized by the following parameters:

  • height in withers 1.45 - 1.5 m;
  • large bones, rolling in strong limbs;
  • powerful head with lower jaw pushed forward;
  • natural balanced physique.

Soon the livestock of strong racers grazing on the breeding grounds grazed across the lands of Westphalia.

A century later, during the 30th summer war, Westphalian horses were almost completely exterminated for the needs of the army. Only single herds fled into the depths of the German forests.

Peasants caught feral stallions, crossing with local mares. Actions led to an increase in horse stock, but the youngsters appeared with lost exterior qualities.

Causes of horses rejection

Permanent territory wars hampered purebred horse breeding. Soon Westphalia became part of Prussia, the problem of providing the army with hardy horses for fighting again arose.

There is a law on the organization of kerung - a special competition for the selection of manufacturers with a quality assessment.

The government recommends the development of horse breeding in order to improve breed indicators. But local residents were far from the notion of selective selection. Attempts to cross Westphalian stallions with mares of noble blood led to failure. The foals obtained did not inherit beneficial properties from the parents.

The army rejected offspring because of weak bones and inappropriate exterior, and for the farm required horses with more weight and endurance. The remaining 8% foals from the resulting offspring for breeding and trading, but the price was too low, not covering the costs of breeding.

Decay breeding

Twenty years of aimless attempts to restore the pedigree characteristics of horses led to the cessation of state allowance for the financing of stables.

Prussia stopped ordering thoroughbred horses for the army, which affected the economy of the region.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, the agricultural industry has been developing intensively, demanding an increase in the number of hardy horses suitable for hard work.

The government is forced to buy Belgian, French, and English draft carriers to improve the qualities of local breeds. In parallel, the qualities of weakened Westfels are improved by crossing with thoroughbred Hanover and oldenburg mares.

The result was a robust, scattered horse stock for use on farms.

It was impossible to classify the racers into groups due to the lack of clear pedigree work, which was the reason for the appearance of disparate horses.

Westphal development

Breeding of Westphalian horses got a chance for rebirth. Infusion of purebred blood occurred in 1888 thanks to Baron von Schörlemmer-Alst. At the initiative of the aristocrat, a union of breeders was organized, which was tasked to introduce the requirements:

  • improvement of the characteristics of draft horses;
  • work on strengthening the breeding stock;
  • registering breeding horses;
  • bonuses mares;
  • explanatory conversations with breeders.

The Commission decided to create 20 unions of breeders in the country, as well as conduct breeding selection in the heavy and half-blooded direction. Henceforth, the heavy horses were mated only with massive and local queens, and half-blood stallions with half-blood mares.

Improvement came after 1888

The year 1904 was marked by the organization of a breeding book on breeding in the province of Westfalia. Horse-breeding exhibitions, competitions, bonuses for animals were held on the farm.

Further selection

Crossing local horses with pedigree Ostfritz and oldenburg producers did not satisfy the commission, which led to the involvement of Anglo-Norman and trotter horses in breeding work.

The infusion of French blood improved the maneuverability of purebred foals, but reduced weight. By decision of the commission, the Westphalian horse is covered with a Hanoverian stallion to strengthen the backbone, but the work was interrupted by the country's entry into the First World War.

Breeders continued to cross thoroughbred horses, which served as a prerequisite for licensing 153 horses, of which 46% were heirs of the Westphalian Hanoverians, the rest of the mass came from the Hannover breed from Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg.

The bombing of the Second World War led to the almost complete extermination of pedigreed animals. The breeders decided to continue the work by purchasing a lot of Hannover stallions and having an inventory of the remaining queens with foals.

Sports breeds attract attention

Half-breeding breeding went the other way with the beginning of the improvement of the agricultural branch, when farmers stopped demanding the entry of hardy horses to the market for work on the farm. The breeding of equestrian breeds for sports is coming into fashion.

He is experiencing a rebirth of the stable of state importance Warendorf, where they were engaged in breeding horses for sports and exhibition orientation. In addition to improving the breeding stock, work was carried out on the crossing of Westphalian mares with horse breed stallions.

Breeding works were also carried out in parallel at the Fornholz stud farm, where "star" sports stallions were bred. Offspring from Papier, Pluchino and Ramses won first places in dressage and show jumping competitions.

Breed indices from Papier were transmitted to a descendant Paradox, who became the father of high-class sport horses. Thanks to Pluchino, heirs are obtained: Perseus and Pilatus. The dynasty is continued by the grandchildren Polydor with the Pilot.

A branch horse of Arabic origin, Ramses, continued by Ramiro’s heirs with Radetzky. Among the descendants of Radetsky is the winner of the world championship in show jumping - Roman.

Description: exterior, dimensions, special features

Strong and strong racers of the Westphalian breed have light bones and a massive skull. Compared with the relatives of the Hanover breed, having aristocratic features of the structure.

External characteristics of Westphals:

  • in withers growth reaches 1.65 - 1.70 m;
  • the breed is represented in red and bay color, horses of gray or black color are caught, but the coat has a uniform coat color;
  • deep body goes into obliquely extended shoulder blades;
  • pronounced withers flows into a strong, medium-sized neck;
  • croup elongated, oblique type;
  • pronounced muscles in the lumbar region and hind legs;
  • strong, dryish limbs with short pasterns.

The heirs of the purebred line, Pluchino and Piper, are marked with white spots on the head and legs.

Character and temper

Westphalian racers have a balanced temperament, are capable of learning. Intellect implies the assimilation of equestrian sport, horses endure many hours of full-fledged activities. The ability to work helps to get results in competitions, and a calm character becomes a guarantee of the correct performance of jumps.

Westfals in competitions in triathlon, dressage or horse racing look graceful, and the speed of reaction amazes breeders. Devotion to the owner allows the horses to act on competitive selections balanced and judicious.

Jockey Nicole Uphoff-Becker and Rembrandt, a stallion of Westphalian breed Rembrandt, managed to win Olympic gold in dressage in 1988 and 1992.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of these horses is the credibility of the professional engaged in training in preparation for the championships. The horses show smooth movements against the background of jumping qualities. Measuredly perform the tasks of the competitive program, moving elegantly and stylishly.

Westphalian breed is considered the best for breeding in Germany. Horses are unpretentious, responsive, intelligent and graceful. Energeticism allows them to tirelessly jump over barriers to achieve results for a reward.

Animals do the peculiar steps peculiar to breed, and the lynx with a gait performed by Westfal causes delight. Horses do not show aggressiveness to the owner, calm down from tender treatment.

The breed is devoid of flaws, but you need to monitor the health of the horses. Under the supervision of a specialist, vitamin complexes are given to the wards, contributing to the proper formation of the skeleton and muscles.

Violation in the care becomes the cause of inflamed ulcers on the skin and hooves, so it is recommended to monitor the microclimate and cleanliness in the stable.

Application area

Thanks to breeding work, representatives of the Westphalian breed received a universal purpose.

Stallions for breeding are tested to indicate their suitability. The pedigree line, characteristic features, constitution, and external compliance with the breed indicators are checked.

Calm temper involves performing in parades. Horses are not afraid of the audience, they are able to march in graceful steps. Representatives of the Mounted Police rated the breed as the best when serving.

Westphals - equestrian champions who received Olympic awards. Horses are distinguished by their precise jumping performance, ability to learn, diligence, and assistance to the jockey.

Other features

The horses of the Westphalian breed are acquired by lovers of country horseback riding due to uncomplicated care, peace-loving nature. If the Hanoverians are prone to a sharp transition to a jump, then calm Westfals will never incur a host.

Sometimes attracted by farmers to transport goods. The horses are durable and patient, calmly walking in a harness.

The horses of the Westphalian breed are amenable to training and obey orders, but in rare cases show quick temper. This feature explains the reason why animals are not recommended for riding to children or old people.

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