Bavarian Warmblood (also known as Bayerisches
Warmblut) horses are from southern Germany. They were developed from an
older Bavarian heavy warmblood breed called the Rottaler. Since mechanization
in the mid-20th century, the Bavarian Regional Horse Breeders' Society has
concentrated on producing a riding horse for the Olympic disciplines and recreational
riding based on other European warmblood bloodlines.
The easiest way to recognize a Bavarian Warmblood is by the
brand on the left thigh, which is a crowned shield outside the letter
"B". All colors are permitted, though dark, solid colors are
preferred. The ideal height is between 158 and 170 cm tall at the withers
Bavarian Warmbloods are similar to other German warmbloods
in type, conformation, movement, jumping ability and interior qualities.
Desirable type includes an elegant, attractive horse with dry limbs and head
and clear sex expression. Conformation reflects the stamp of a correct sport
horse. Correct movement includes three rhythmic gaits characterized by energy,
a long stride, natural self-carriage and elasticity, with some knee action.
Selection processes aim for enthusiastic, capable jumpers with
"bascule" (arc over the fence), "scope" (ability to respond
to changes in the environment), and "tact" (carefully pulling the
legs out of the way). Horses that are difficult, nervous, or aggressive are
identified and typically are not allowed to breed.
Breeding stallions and mares are chosen by thorough studbook
selection, which eliminates horses that do not fit the breeding goal from the
breeding studbooks. The Bavarian Warmblood is by no means set in type and
recognizable the way that breeds from closed studbooks are; instead, they are
recognizable by their athletic ability and temperament.
Currently, the stallion roster is comprised of 45% Bavarian
Warmblood stallions. Holsteiner stallions make up a further 42%. Other German
warmbloods - Hanoverians, Oldenburgs, Westphalians, Wuerttembergers,
Rhinelanders, Thuringians, and German Warmbloods, (Zuchtverband fur deutsche
Pferde or ZfDP) - make up 24%.
There are a handful of Dutch Warmblood, Trakehner, and
Thoroughbred stallions as well, though the Bavarian studbook is rather unusual
for including a Russian Warmblood and two Budyonny stallions.
Of the Bavarian-bred stallions, a few had Bavarian sires,
though most were sired by a Hanoverian, Westphalian, Oldenburg, or Holsteiner.
Several Selle Francais sires also have sons in the Bavarian studbook, and one
Bavarian-bred stallion each is by a Trakehner, Thoroughbred, and Anglo-Arabian.
The predecessor of the Bavarian Warmblood is the Rottaler,
an all-purpose horse very similar to other heavy warmbloods. The best Rottalers
were calm, substantial horses suitable for plowing, carriage driving, and
non-competitive riding. In 1907 a registry for Rottalers was founded. The riding
horse direction began in 1963 and the Rottaler was renamed "Bavarian
Stallions with the old type were replaced by Hanoverians,
Westphalians, Holsteiners, Trakehners, and Thoroughbreds. The Rottaler blood
was soon diluted and today comprises the mother line of some approved
stallions. To save the old type from extinction, a preservation society was
formed in 1994.
Today, Bavarian Warmblood pedigrees are made up of blood
from other German warmbloods, particularly Holsteiners, Hanoverians, Westphalians,
Oldenburgs, Württembergers, Rhinelanders, and Saxony-Thuringian Warmbloods,
plus a number of approved Dutch Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, Trakehners, and even
In recent years, the Bavarian Regional Horse Breeders'
Society has begun co-hosting a stallion licensing event with the Horse Breeding
Societies of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz Saar, and Saxony-Thueringen.
The South-German Stallion Licensing is held in Munich. They also hold elite
foal auctions and free jumping competitions for young horses. Together, all
four registries have nearly 500 stallions and over 11,000 mares. There are
about 150 Bavarian Warmblood stallions and almost 4,000 broodmares.
The Bavarian Warmblood is seen in international sport horse
competition, including eventing, show jumping and dressage. In the 2006 final
standings in international sport, the Bavarian Warmblood was ranked 13th in
show jumping, 15th in dressage, and 12th in eventing.
Bavarian Warmbloods are also popular choices in the sport of
combined driving and have been part of several World Cup teams. In the United
States, there are several prominent show hunters with the Bavarian brand.
Thorough health-screening of breeding stallions before they
stand stud has resulted in a population largely free of congenital diseases.
The size and growth rate of warmbloods in general has made Osteochondrosis
(OCD) the primary health concern.