Westphalian Horses
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Westphalian, or Westfalen, horses are warmblood horses bredrnin the Westphalia region of western Germany. They are closely affiliated withrnthe state-owned stud farm of Warendorf, which it shares with the Rhinelander.rnSince World War II, the Westphalian horse has been bred to the same standard asrnthe other German warmbloods, and they are particularly famous as Olympic-levelrnshow jumpers and dressage horses. Next to the Hanoverian, the Westphalianrnstudbook has the largest breeding population of any warmblood in Germany.rnrn 

The history of the Westphalian horse is linked with thernState Stud of Warendorf, which was founded in 1826 to serve the NorthrnRhine Westphalian region. The stud was built under the Prussian StudrnAdministration, which was put together by King Frederick William I in 1713 tornimprove horse breeding efforts in the German-speaking region. Government-ownedrnstuds, identified as State or Principal studs dependingrnon whether the facility keeps its own herd of mares, purchase stallions thatrnfit the needs of the surrounding region. The stud fees of state-owned stallionsrnare low, enabling local breeders to produce high-quality horses from heavyrndrafts to riding horses to ponies.rnrn 

rnrnThe first stallions to stand at Warendorf were from EastrnPrussia, and so were similar to Trakehners of the time. These horses werernriding horses with Thoroughbred blood, suitable for the courtiers to ride andrnuse in cavalry. As the human population between the Rhine and Weser riversrngrew, the demand shifted to a medium-heavy all-purpose farm horse to cope withrnthe increase in agriculture. The noble East Prussian stallions were replacedrnwith heavy warmbloods from Oldenburg and East Frisia.rnrn 

rnrnThe turn of the 20th century saw the heavy warmbloodsrnoutdone in the region by the more suitable Rhenish Cold Blood. These horsesrnwere better able to pull heavy plows and artillery, and so while they werernprincipally bred around the Wickrath State Stud, warmblood sires at Warendorfrnwere gradually replaced by cold bloods. The revolutions in automotive andrnagricultural technology that these heavy horses helped make possible made themrnobsolete in turn. In 1957 the Wickrath State Stud was dissolved as the heavyrnhorses fell out of favor. The stock of warmblood horses was replenished withrnmares and stallions from nearby Hannover, on which the modern Westphalian isrnbased.rnrn 

rnrnThe Federal Riding School was incorporated to the state studrnin 1968. It is the site of the training and examination of nationally-licensedrnprofessional riders and instructors, and is also home to the German EquestrianrnOlympic Committee. Warendorf also hosts stallion performance tests annually.rnrn rnrn 

rnrnThe first studbook for horses in Westphalia was founded inrn1888, and the following year the first evaluations of stallions and mares wererncarried out. These inspections became the defining characteristic of thernWestphalian, as they had for other warmbloods. The breeders of the best filliesrnwere awarded a prize or premium as an incentive to keep high-quality breedingrnstock in the region. Only the very best colts, the young male horses that mostrnclosely fit what the local breeders wanted in a horse, were allowed to becomernbreeding stallions. The first performance tests were held in 1905. Thesernperformance tests meant that stallions had now to not only fit a conformationalrnmodel to be used for breeding, but also had to prove their worth under saddlernand in front of the plow.rnrn 

rnrnWorld War II destroyed all the old pedigree records that hadrnbeen kept so carefully. The next mare evaluation was not held until 1946, whenrna new breeding aim was implemented - a riding horse. Within 30 years, this newrnaim was coming to fruition: the 100-day test was implemented in 1982, and arnWestphalian, Ahlerich, took gold in dressage at the Los Angeles Olympics ofrn1984.rnrn 

rnrnWhile over the past decade, other registries have splitrntheir breeding stock into jumper-type and dressage-type, the Westphalianrnverband resists specialization. Instead, Westphalians are bred to be goodrnmovers with high rideability and jumping ability for a market of mostlyrnamateurs who appreciate versatile, pleasant horses.rnrn rnrn 

rnrnThe Westphalian excels in dressage. Westphalians are bred tornthe same standard as the other German warmbloods and in particular exchange arngreat deal of genetic material with the nearby Rhinelander and Hanoverian. Thernstandard for all German riding horses calls for an appealing, long-lined,rncorrect riding horse with bold, expansive, elastic gaits, suitable for allrntypes of riding due to its temperament, character, and rideability. ThernWestphalian's type is less refined than that of a Thoroughbred, but less coarsernthan that of a "cold blood." Westphalians usually stand between 15.2rnto 17.2 hands high at the withers and weigh between 1000 and 1300 lbs.rnrn 

rnrnThe Westphalian registry, or verband, does not discriminaternon color or markings, however, colors other than black, bay, chestnut, and greyrnare rare. The best way to identify a Westphalian is by the brand on the leftrnhip: a crowned shield containing the letter "W" which Westphaliansrnreceive when they are awarded their papers at a foal show.rnrn 

Westphalians are bred to be suitable for competitive andrnpleasure riding in dressage and show jumping. In 2007, the studbook was rankedrn#7 worldwide in show jumping and #7 in dressage by the World BreedingrnFederation for Sport Horses.rnrn 

rnrnOlympians bearing the Westphalian brand appeared during thern1980's. The first was Ahlerich (by Angelo xx) who took individual gold inrndressage at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics,rnindividual dressage gold was won by Rembrandt (by Romadour II), who withrnAhlerich was on the gold-medal German dressage team, while Pikeur Pedro (byrnPilot) was part of the gold-medal German jumping team that year. In 1992rnRembrandt took individual dressage gold again, while teammate Goldstern (byrnWeinberg) took bronze. The two horses were part of the gold-medal Germanrndressage team in Barcelona. At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Goldstern andrnDurgo (by Degen) were both part of the gold-medal German dressage team. Mostrnrecently, Farbenfroh (by Freudentaenzer) was a member of the gold-medal Germanrndressage team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.rnrn 

rnrnWestphalian breeding has produced a number of sires veryrninfluential to sport horse breeding, including Polydor and his descendantrnPilot, and Rubinstein. These families are significant for jumping and dressagernrespectively.rnrn 

rnrnWestphalians are also popular in North America in showrnhunter competition.rnrn 

Young stallion prospects - koraspirants - are presented at arnnumber of preselection events at Wickrath in Rhineland and Muenster-Handorf inrnWestphalia. The preselection is a general appraisal of the quality of the coltrnin terms of his movement and conformation. There are no scores, but those coltsrnwhich appear to fit the standard and be of breeding quality are invited to thernmain stallion licensing - hauptkorung - at Warendorf. Of the over 500rnkoraspirants presented in 2007, only a fifth were invited to the mainrnlicensing.rnrn 

rnrnThe licensing (korung) of both Rhinelander and Westphalianrncolts occurs at Warendorf State Stud in November. Each horse is scored on hisrnconformation and on the straightness of his walk and trot. The breed judgesrnlook for a horse without deviations in the legs, correct angles in the hindrnlegs, and the overall appearance of a good riding horse. His height is measuredrnto ensure that he meets a minimum standard, even though most warmbloodsrncontinue to grow beyond the age of 4. He is also evaluated on thernexpressiveness and elasticity of his walk, trot and canter, and his ability tornjump while loose in a controlled, covered arena. The champion, vice-champion,rnand the best jumper are announced at the end of the licensing, as well as whichrnstallions have earned the license. Many stallions change hands at the licensingrnduring the auction that follows. About half of the colts that attended thernkorung were licensed in 2007.rnrn 
rnrnThe final step to becoming an approved Westphalian breedingrnstallion is the performance proof. A few exceptional horses may be able tornprove themselves by open competition in sport, which can take years. Stallionrnperformance tests were developed as a more efficient method of identifying thernriding qualities of a young horse. Licensed stallions are sent to a testingrnstation for a period of 30 or 70 days, where they receive training fromrnaffiliated professionals. Over the course of the training period, the trainersrnand riders become well-acquainted with the young stallion's virtues andrnshortcomings. The scores provide insight to their aptitude for dressage,rnaptitude for jumping, robustness, rideability, willingness, and temperament.rnrn 

rnrnThe 100-day test was held in Muenster-Handorf from 1982 torn2000, and has since been replaced by the 70-day version.rnrn 

rnrnThe strict selection procedure applied to breeding stockrnensures that Westphalians are generally free of congenital diseases. They arernusually sound and long-lived.rnrn rnrn 

rnrnIn the United States, Rhinelanders are sometimes representedrnas Westphalians to buyers. While the two studbooks have the same standard andrnsame approval process, and share a state stud facility, they remain distinctrnstudbooks. Sellers may be motivated by the lack of a North American counterpartrnto the Rhinelander verband, and potential confusion of "Rhinelander"rnwith Zweibruecken, which are registered by the "Rheinland-Pfalz saarrnInternational" organization.

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