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By Smith Northam

Last updated: 3rd June 2021

Westphalian Horse


Smith Northam
Last updated: 3rd June 2021

The Westphalian is a breed of sturdy and active horses that developed in Germany. They are known for their versatile skills, both as a working as well as a sports horse that has reached to the Olympic levels.

Westphalian Horse Pictures

Quick Information

Other Names Westfalen, Westfälisches Pferd
Behavioral Characteristics Calm, friendly, willing, adaptable, versatile
Physical Traits Lightly built but tall stature with a well-shaped back and chest and strong, well-muscled hindquarters; the neck is stout, coming out in good angles from the shoulders and withers
Coat Colors Black, bay, chestnut, and gray are common
Height/Size 17.2 hands (adult)
Weight 1,150 pounds
Common Uses Jumping, dressage, eventing, racing
Health Problems No breed-specific health issues
Type Riding Horse, Sports Horse, Show Horse, Working Horse
Blood Type Warm
Popular Traits Multi-talented, excellent in jumping, easy trainability
Feeding/Diet General horse diet including hay, grass, grains, etc.
Time of Origin 1826
Country of Origin Westphalia, Germany
Associations and Registries Westfalen Horse Association of America
Breed Standards (German)

Video: Westphalian Horse Sporting Event

History and Development

During the early 19th century, agriculture had been the primary profession of the rustics and the countryside populations in Germany, while their work and transport mainly depended on working horses. With the gradual rise in population and the resultant growth of the agriculture industry, a need for a versatile and healthy working animal grew rapidly.

In 1826, the State Stud of Warendorf (SSW) was founded in the town of Warendorf in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany intending to improving the local equine breeds. It was the initiative of this stud that the Westphalian breed was created by selective breeding choosing the best horses, including Oldenburg, Hanoverian, and Anglo-Norman from different regions, keeping in mind the needs of the ordinary people.

The Westphalians continued to remain the choice of the farmers for agriculture and other related works, as the horse that could plow fields, carry people, pull carts to town until the tractor came to the scene for the first time. At present, these animals are mainly bred for their versatile traits, starting from pulling carriages to sports like jumping, dressage, or eventing.

Interesting Facts

  • The Westphalian has the second largest breeding population in Germany (next only to the Hanoverian Horse).

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