How many “In Search Of” ads do you see these days stating “warmbloods only. No thoroughbred or thoroughbred crosses? Is a warmblood with thoroughbred blood automatically worth less, just because it is a tb cross? Can a thoroughbred cross be registered with a warmblood registry full verband, or is it limited to ‘B’ book? What is in your warmblood?
A warmblood is a medium built horse that originated in Europe. Each region developed horses to do the necessary job of the times. Their characteristics aligned with the jobs they were needed for, such as to work fields, clear logs, drive carriages, and carry solders in war. As technology advanced, horses were used less for work, and more for sport. The warmblood was lightened and refined to produce more agile horses with more suspension and scope. The thoroughbred was frequently used to create and improve today’s warmbloods. Some of the most influential stallions in jumping pedigrees (read “foundation stallions”) are indeed thoroughbred and include Furioso xx, Cottage Son xx, Rantzau xx, Lady Killer xx, and Lucky Boy xx. If you see “xx” on your horse’s pedigree, it indicates thoroughbred blood. Today’s modern warmbloods are still heavily influenced by thoroughbred blood and should all be considered thoroughbred crosses. Hippomundo is an excellent source for finding out exactly how much thoroughbred your warmblood possesses.
If you study the list of the top show jumping sires in the world, the amount of blood might surprise you. Chacco Blue topped the sire list for 2017. He is a Meckelenburg warmblood born in 1998. Full warmblood right? He has 48.44 % thoroughbred. He is almost HALF thoroughbred. Second on the list for 2017 (and leading sire in 2015 and 2016) is Diamant de Semilly. He has 42.88 percent thoroughbred blood. Interestingly, 5 of the top 10 Show Jumping stallions have over 40% blood including Coronet Obolensky, Casall Ask, and Kashmir Van’t Schuttershof. How awesome is that?
Ok, we can see how the light, agile, athletic thoroughbred would be a positive influence for a show jumper, but what about the dressage horse? Of the top 10 dressage stallions in the 2017 world rankings, 5 have over 30% thoroughbred blood. Stedinger had the highest amount at 40.34, followed by De Niro, Don Frederico, Sir Donnerhall, and Sandro Hit with over 30 percent. The thoroughbred added suspension, heart, and a competitive spirit. They also have a fantastic work ethic, stamina, and muscle tone.
Obviously the thoroughbred is more accepted into the eventing world, with two full tb’s in the top 10 sire ranks with Master Imp xx and Heraldik xx, and Jaguar Mail at 80.86.
You could try the argument that those stallions are old, and are now being crossed with warmblood mares to lower the tb blood, in order to produce the extremely athletic jumper of today. Again, this is not the case as breeders understand the NEED for blood in order to be competitive in the highly demanding international courses now built. Lets look at the current top 10 show jumpers currently in the USA. Eddie Blue with Devon Ryan tops the list. He would be considered 1/3 TB. Second is Creedence ridden by Kent Ferrington. Creedence is over half thoroughbred, carrying 51.74 percent blood. Again, 5 of the top 10 show jumpers in the United States today boast over 40% thoroughbred blood including Hester, Coach, Breitling LS, and Confu.
Right, but too much thoroughbred makes hunters too hot. Maybe not. Of the current leading high performance hunters with an easily accessible pedigree (apparently, it’s fashionable to omit bloodlines from hunters in the states), Flamingo K carries 40.98 % thoroughbred blood, and Cassico has 49.45%. The leading hunter producer is currently Quite Easy, who turns out is a higher percentage of thoroughbred than any of the leading show jumping and dressage sires at 53.03%.
The next time you are looking for a young prospect or competition horse, don’t shy away from the tb blood, embrace it, as we have. All warmbloods are crosses. It is in fact, desirable. In the United States, we have some of the absolute best thoroughbred blood in the world. It would be a waste not to infuse some of it into our future sport horses. Luckily, at Michalson Farm, we have held on to some great tb broodmares from our racing program, who also contain top tb sport horse lines, to produce some fantastic warmblood athletes. Check out some of our offspring at www.michalsonfarm.com.