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Warlander Horses: Breed Profile, Facts and Care

By Alex Verwest


Updated on

The Warlander is by far one of the most elegant warhorses that have ever come out of Europe.

Its history is incredibly rich and despite being regarded as a warhorse, it is still considered to be one of the most beautiful and dramatic horse breeds you’ll ever come across.

This horse breed has been around for well over 400 years now, and its history may be one of the most interesting ones we’ve ever heard of.

So, if you want to find out more about this exquisite warhorse breed keep on reading because we’ve got a lot to cover for today. Let’s start off with..

The Origins of the Warlander Horse

Warlander Horse – Origins
Titan the Warlander Stallion / facebook.com

While we do know bits and pieces about the Warlander horse breed, there is a lot of confusion going around the breed’s inception, since nobody knows exactly how old the breed is nor what genes went into it in order to create it.

The one thing that we can probably guess about it considering its traits is the fact that it was originally created as a sturdy and stalwart cavalry horse.

The oldest texts we have that mention this horse breed being put to work date back to the 16th century when they are commended for their cavalry skills.

As such, it is believed that in order to get the Warlander horse, breeders had to cross the Iberian breeds such as the Andalusian, the Lusitano and/or the Menorquina breeds with a Friesian-type breed.

Everything else about this breed is a huge mystery though, mostly because back then wars would spring out of nowhere so texts would easily be lost in the fires.

This breed wasn’t even known as Warlander back then, as the name originally came around the late 20th century, when a team of experts started drawing the lines all the way to their inception around the 16th century.

The team was able to cross examine the traits that the horses possessed, and when they saw that the breed’s first appearance happened to be in Europe, they were able to identify the breeds that were most likely used in the mix, since the Friesian and Andalusian breeds were very popular back then.

Storm Shadow Warlander Stud
Storm Shadow Warlander Stud / facebook.com

But it took a while for this breed to be accepted as a breed of its own. In 1990, Australia CSS, or Classical Sporthorse Stud, decided to finally start developing the Warlander horse even further, until they eventually got the new generation of sports horses that we have today.

But since the breed’s standards have changed so much, they decided to rename this breed to the Classical Sporthorse Stud. It quickly caught on in Australia, becoming one of the most popular sports horse breeds around.

When naming the breed, the team decided to borrow the veterinarian from their association’s name, Dr. Warwick Vale, officially coining the breed’s existence from this moment on.

In order to get this new breed of Warlander horses, breeders are crossing the Friesian animals with the purebred Iberians, although even if the parents are perfect, you can still get a foal that isn’t accepted by the association.

This is because the ideal Warlander horse must be a perfect blend of 75%/25% of either of the two parents, and if these numbers don’t match, you technically don’t have a purebred Warlander horse on your hands.

If there is any other genetical influence in the mix, you will never be allowed to ride the horse in any event under the Warlander name, which is pretty sad considering the fact that this means that there is a pretty small number of eligible Warlander horses around that you can buy at any time.

Warlander Horse Appearance

Warlander Horse – Appearance
Photo by Randy Stewart / Wikipedia.org

The standard Warlander horse must be no less than 14.3 hands or 1.50m tall by the time they reach the ripe old age of 4 years old. They also can’t be taller than 16.2 hands, but if they are the perfect 75/25 match the association does allow them to get as tall as 17 hands.

But since this is a baroque type horse, the association still urges that your horse should not be any taller than 16.2 hands, not that you can control how tall your horse gets of course.

Interestingly enough, any and all of the solid coat colors are permitted. So, you can walk up to a member of the association with an albino horse and you will still technically have a perfect Warlander horse with you.

What they will not accept however is Roaning, Pinto or Appaloosa markings or just any sort of horse markings other than white markings below the knees or white facial markings.

One of the major requirements that you will stumble across though is the head, and we’re not necessarily talking about the shape or size. Instead, we’re talking about how the horse carries itself.

This means that your Warlander horse must carry its head upright, since it is an elegant horse breed that is often times associated with the nobility.

Your horse’s profile should also be slightly convex or just downright straight, and their forehead should be a bit on the deeper side alongside the eyes which need to be right below the ears.

Their face can’t be too chubby or round, instead it must be lean and smooth, ending in a long and narrow nostril that has an inverted comma shape.

Their lips need to be firm and tactile and their ears always need to be a bit curved with a bit of an inverted tip.

Keep in mind that their eyes also need to be triangular shaped, and they need to be quite far apart and large since that is considered to be a sing of intelligence for horses.

Warlander Horse – Appearances

While they are not inherently scared or anxious horses, they do need to be on a constant alert mode, which is meant to, again, represent their intelligence as they know that at any moment something might happen.

Their neck is always going to be well-muscled and high arched. This is a very important trait as it is meant to represent their war origins. They also need to have narrow shoulders toward the head alongside a fine clean throatlatch.

The mane on the other hand is quite thick and abundant, and if taken care of properly it should look very luxurious and full. If your horse has a coarse or overly fine mane you may want to invest in a different shampoo for them.

As far as the shoulders and topline of the Warlander horse is concerned, both of them need to give off an impression of grace and royalty. Their topline needs to flow smoothly down the neck and their back needs to be straight and strong, showcasing the sturdiness of the breed.

Warlander colt
Little River Friesians / facebook.com

You can quickly tell just how much effort went into making this one of the most luxurious and elegant breeds around, as every minute detail about it is meant to enhance their already powerful features.

Now onto their legs, aka one of their best features around. They have very strong and sturdy bones, but at the same time they are very muscly and not too heavy, which makes them flexible and quick on their feet.

Their legs also need to fall in a very naturally square position, and they can’t deviate in any direction, always needing to point forwards.

Their pastern needs to be well let down, around the 45-degree mark or so, and it can’t be too long or too short. The knees are quite broad, and their hind legs are known for being straight and well-muscled. You should take care of their hock, so that they are clean and free from any blemish before an event.

The First Impressions of the Warlander Horse

Warlander Horse – Origin
Titan the Warlander Stallion / facebook.com

Right off the bat you can tell that a well-bred Warlander horse is one of those “romantic” looking animals that you can only see if you pay the good bucks for it.

It is a very beautiful and majestic looking horse that has a special noble bearing to it that not a lot of other horses have.

Their substantial bone and roundness, when coupled with their agility and expressive movement makes them an absolute treat to see, and the surprises don’t stop there.

They are very easy to train and get along with, since they are most often times owned by royalty or just riding competitors that love to show off.

As such, this breed has been conditioned to be one of the most docile and friendly breeds around, to the point where they can even be entrusted with children since they are very calm and easy to deal with.

If you are a rider looking for an easy and comfortable horse to go on sunset rides with you may want to go with a Warlander horse because it is by far one of the smoothest options you may find.

Warlander horse apperance
Warlander Studbook Society / facebook.com

This horse breed is most often times used in Olympic disciplines and driving, although you can also just get yourself one if you want a little friend that you can ride around on every now and then around your farmhouse.

The purebred Warlander is definitely not cheap though, as it is considered to be a very rare breed to own. As such, if you are just looking for a random horse and you have no need to go overboard on the payment you may want to stay away from the Warlander horse.

But hey, if you have the money for it and you want to not have to spend all that much time on training it, the Warlander horse may be the perfect choice for you still.

Overall, this horse breed is not going to cause you any trouble. It gets along with most other horse breeds and it will rarely start any trouble so you almost never have to worry about that.

It is a bit on the smaller side, so you may want to keep it away from some of the more violent horse breeds around, because while they will not start a fight, they will also not take the high road and run away without landing a few bites and kicks.

Warlander Horse – Horse Breed

Keep in mind that your Warlander horse can’t show any of the following genetic defects, otherwise it is not considered a purebred horse after all:

  • Cryptorchidism – This is a condition in which one or both of the horse’s testicles fail to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum before its birth. This in turn may increase the risk of testicular cancer and it can only be corrected through surgery.
  • Monorchidism – This genetic disposition causes the horse to only have one testicle descent into the scrotum. While it is quite uncommon in horses, there have been a handful of cases in which Warlander horses were not recognized by the association due to them carrying this gene.
  • Dwarfism – Also commonly referred to as Friesian dwarfism, this is an inherited disproportionate dwarfism that can be found in horses that carry the Friesian genes. These horses have a shortened stature, shortened limbs and an ordinary sized chest which appears broader due to the rest of the body’s smaller size.
  • Fallen Crest – This is caused by a Nuchal Ligament in the neck. If this ligament is longer than the neck, then your horse happens to suffer of a Fallen Crest genetic defect.
  • Hydrocephalus – This is an autosomal recessive disorder that can be found with horses that carry the Friesian gene. It appears due to an abnormal narrowing of the opening at the base of the skull, and while not hindering for the horse itself, the association will not accept it as a purebred due to it.

Should You Get Yourself a Warlander Horse?

Valle Warlander Stud
Valle Stud / facebook.com

Getting your hands on a Warlander horse is definitely going to be quite a challenge, considering the fact that in order for a Warlander horse to actually be considered purebred it must cross off a huge requirement list.

That in itself also drives the price up quite a bit, and while we can just say that around $2.500 to $5,000 should cover it, it all depends on the seller as they can put their own prices up if they want to.

But hey, excellency never comes cheap, and that is definitely the one defining trait that we can attribute to the Warlander horse breed.

It is by far one of the most luxurious investments you could make, and while it is meant for shows, you can also just buy one and keep it around the farm for casual riding too.

Just keep in mind that you will need to invest a lot into its food, doctor visits and medications to make sure that they are always ready to ride.

Overall, we can safely say that, while definitely not the most popular breed around, the Warlander horse may very well be one of the best purchases you make no matter who you are or what you need a horse for.


Warlander horse – Andalusian-Friesian Cross
Photo by Spanish_Girl1 / wikipedia.org

That’s all there is to know about the Warlander horse. While it started off as part of the cavalry, its elegance and prestige were soon recognized by the breeders around, and before long it became known as one of the most stylish and magnificent horse breeds around.

We can safely say that we would never say no to owning a Warlander horse, but this is not about us, it’s about you. So, you decide whether this is the right breed for you or not, and if you do happen to go for it, just remember that you will never regret it.

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About Alex Verwest

Alex is an equestrian consultant who has co-founded several successful start-up companies and worked with various international equestrian businesses. Using his experience and connections in this field, he loves to introduce readers to many outstanding small equestrian brands, sharing stories about equestrian lifestyle and trends. Learn more about Seriously Equestrian's Editorial Process.