The Swedish Warmblood is a sport horse breed that originated at the state studs of Sweden. While less popular than some warmbloods from mainland Europe, many Swedish Warmbloods excel at the top level of equestrian sport.

This Scandinavian breed was developed as a riding horse at a time when many warmblood breeds still focused on agriculture and driving. The Swedish studbook remains open today, allowing continual improvement of the breed.

Swedish Warmblood breeders follow traditions focused on sustainability, soundness, and equine welfare. These philosophies and the rigorous selection of breeding animals help maintain the continued health and success of the breed.

This breed profile will discuss the history, characteristics, health problems, and nutritional needs of the Swedish Warmblood breed. Keep reading to learn more about feeding and caring for Swedish Warmblood horses.

Swedish Warmblood History

Horses have a long history in Scandinavia; in particular, the Swedish Warmblood breed has ancestral ties to horses from this European country. Once developed for use as war horses, the modern Swedish Warmblood is the culmination of centuries of selective breeding.

Origin

Archeological evidence suggests domestic horses inhabited Scandinavia by the Bronze Age (3300 BCE to 1200 BCE). Genetic studies evaluating the link between native Scandinavian breeds and Mongolian horses suggest early horses accompanied human migration to the region. [1]

The origins of the Swedish Warmblood trace back to selective breeding programs initiated in the Viking Age and refined during the Great Power era of 17th century Sweden.

The National Stud at Flyinge, the best-known national stud farm in Sweden, became an official Royal stud in 1661. The Swedish government imported horses from England, France, Spain, and Germany to improve the local horse population.

Inspections for breeding stallions began at the state studs in 1874. These inspections coincided with new blood infusions from Arabian, Thoroughbred, Hanoverian, and Trakehner blood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [2]

Historic Use

Swedish horse breeding focused heavily on producing war horses during the Middle Ages. The local horse breeds were versatile working horses for all-around use and agriculture.

A desire to improve the local breeds for cavalry use drove imports of foreign stallions into Sweden to stand at the national studs. Early breeding at the studs also produced excellent saddle horses for general riding.

The first breeders association for Swedish Warmbloods began in 1928 with encouragement from the Swedish army. The association followed the strict official rules and regulations for conformation, performance, and character developed at the early stallion inspections.

Breeding directions shifted to producing horses for sport use after the Swedish army ceased using horses in the 1970s. [2]

Breed Registry

The Swedish Warmblood Association in Sweden manages the studbook for the breed and oversees the selection of horses for breeding. The Swedish Warmblood Association of North America is the breed registry for Swedish Warmbloods in the United States and Canada.

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Breed Characteristics

Selection procedures and inspections have helped create a uniform breed standard in the Swedish Warmblood despite significant outside influence. Desirable traits in this breed are associated with improved performance in an equestrian sport.

Conformation

Most Swedish Warmbloods stand between 16 and 17 hands tall. The breeding goal of the Swedish Warmblood is a correct, noble, and sound horse that is internationally competitive due to its rideability, gaits, and talent for a particular discipline.

The emphasis on sport success in warmblood breeds results in specialized breeding for different disciplines. One study in Swedish Warmbloods identified a high heritability of traits associated with jumping and dressage ability. [3]

Swedish Warmbloods have athletic builds, attractive heads, well-proportioned bodies, correct legs, slop