Every time I walk into the barn, I marvel that this beautiful creature blinking her big, soft brown eyes at me is my horse.
From the time I was old enough to say the word horse, I’ve loved horses. In college I wanted to learn to ride “English” and fell into lessons from a dressage instructor. A few years later, I saw my first warmblood, a Trakehner/Quarter Horse cross. I fell in love with the big, powerful creatures bred in Europe for their movement and temperaments.
My dream horse became a 17-hand warmblood. Over the years, I fantasized about owning such an animal. Now I marvel at the fact that I do own the very horse of my fantasies. So I’m trying to enjoy every minute of it as I doubt I’ll get another warmblood. If I do, there’s no way it could ever match Gailey in my mind.
As I read and studied about warmbloods, I was fascinated with the warmblood breeding programs. Warmbloods aren’t purebreds, they’re types of horses named for areas in which they are bred or breeding programs. The various programs often add horses of other breeds into the mix to refine/improve the breed. Also, most of the warmblood registries require some kind of testing in order for a horse to be approved for breeding, regardless of whether or not it’s already registered with the society, especially stallions. This also fascinated me. In America with our American breeds, you can buy an Arabian, Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, etc., and breed it to your heart’s content and register all the offspring. No testing required. Anyone can have a backyard breeding program. In fact, you don’t even need a purebred registered horse.
Breeding anything to anything just isn’t done in Europe. Many of their breeding programs are run by the government or were originally run by the government. Does this result in a superior horse? I would suspect your average warmblood off the street is superior to your average American breed, depending on your criteria. On the other hand, I would also match the best of our horses against the best of their horses any day. If that’s even possible because it would be like comparing apples to oranges. Quarter Horses were bred for a completely different set of qualifications than warmbloods. They were working cow horses with inbred cow sense. My warmblood mare wouldn’t have a clue what to do with a cow.
Warmbloods were war horses at one time. Now they’re bred as sport horses, mainly for jumping, dressage, and eventing. Yet, if I was in the market for a nice, low maintenance trail horse, you can’t go wrong with a good Quarter Horse. Around here, an average warmblood goes for about $10,000, while a nice trail-horse-type Quarter Horse is around $2500. Then add the costs of feed and maintenance. Usually warmbloods are more expensive to feed, as they’re larger. Also my warmblood certainly has more health issues than my Morgan/QH ever had.
I love riding my warmblood. I’ve never ridden a more comfortable animal. I also love just looking at her. She’s a beautiful, noble creature. Yet, despite my admiration of warmbloods, I’m guessing my last horse will most likely be a Quarter Horse, as I slowly transition from competitive riding to trail riding. I can’t justify the expense of a warmblood unless I’m showing it. Plus, I could probably keep two Quarter Horses easily on my property, as opposed to one warmblood.
So as Gailey struggles with soundness, I’m trying to live in the present, but I’m also considering the future. I’m guessing my future horse is a Quarter Horse.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas. I hope you have a good one.