Austrian Warmblood horses are, unsurprisingly, warmblooded
horses from Austria. They are the result of combining of multiple excellent
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was known for its horse breeding
programs which were based on a number of imperial stud farms. The role of these
farms was to produce farm horses for the citizens, riding and carriage horses
for the nobility, cavalry mounts and artillery horses for the military.
Although the former empire is also famed for producing the
Kladruber and Lipizzaner, prominent among these stud farms were those located
at Mezohegyes and Bábolna. The former was founded in 1785, the latter was
purchased by the government in 1789, and both are located in modern-day
Nonius horses were developed in Mezohegyes, Austria, which
was similar to the western Heavy Warmbloods, used for light agricultural work
and for pulling artillery wagons. Beginning in the 1840s, Thoroughbred
stallions - Furioso and North Star prominent among them - were bred to the
Nonius mares to produce strains of more refined cavalry mounts and carriage
The ranches at Bábolna, Austria, were originally an
extension of Mezohegyes, but in 1816 the administration decided to use only
Arabian and Arab-bred stallions to achieve their cavalry goals.
In 1830 Shagya, a famous Arabian-bred stallion was born in
Syria. He came to Bábolna in 1836 and founded a strain of light cavalry and
carriage horses which were taller and heavier than purebred Arabians, but which
retained distinct Arabian type. A chestnut Arabian named Gidran followed soon
after, crossed on mares who were more Thoroughbred in type. Respectively, these
two sires founded the Shagya Arabian and Gidran Anglo-Arabian breeds.
The Nonius, Furioso-North Star, Shagya, Gidran, and several
other strains are often collectively referred to as the Altösterreichische
Pferderassen ("Old-Austrian Horse Breeds"). These horses formed the
native mare base on which the Austrian Warmblood was founded.
They are registered with the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für
Warmblutzucht in Österreich (Association of Warmblood Breeding in Austria
(AWÖ)). The AWÖ keeps an open studbook, in which mares and stallions must pass
rigorous inspections before becoming breeding stock. The studbooks comprise
about 2,500 mares and 80 stallions.