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Type differences between NA-bred and European-bred horses?

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  • Type differences between NA-bred and European-bred horses?

    This may be a very stupid thing to ask, and I hope that it does not come across as ignorant..

    It seems to me that there tend to be distinct "type" differences between North American bred horses and European bred horses, in particular with European bred horses typically looking more sporty and refined compared to NA-bred horses. Am I way off base or crazy for thinking this?
    I've noticed this looking at Warmbloods as well as Iberian horses (Andalusians and Lusitanos) - the horses I see advertised as being bred in Europe typically look lighter, more refined, and sportier.

    Not saying it's true for every horse or breeding program or breeder, just an overall observation, and I'm in no way trying to say one is better than the other, just curious about something I personally have noticed, that I may be completely off-base with.

    If my thinking isn't insane, then I am curious: with breeding being international nowadays, why is there that type difference?

  • #2
    The WB programs in Europe have higher standards for approval and registration, North America is more of a free for all, and you can find a regsitry for almost any breed or cross breed.

    Including draft crosses.

    If you wanted to be more analytic about it, maybe have a more systematic look at say North American Oldenburgs versus German Oldenburgs. Something where there's a valid comparison, and you aren't putting someone's homebred Percheron/ OTTB up against a French bred Selle Francais.

    As far as breeding being international, well frozen semen can ship at a price. But mares are harder to move around.

    I honestly don't know the answer. But my guess is that at the top end there isn't much difference in phenotypes between Europe and NA. And probably top end is all you are seeing of European horses for sale.

    The British do like their cobs and heavy hunters.


    • #3
      A lot of variables here.

      I'm going to mostly refer to the Iberian horses. I wouldn't say that they are more sporty and refined here because it depends. How many breeders and sale sites did you look at? Were you specifically looking at Iberians for sport? Or did you also include those aimed at Morphological competition? The ANCCE has certain breed standards, but there can still be some slight variants. Were these North American Iberians registered with a North American registry of sorts? Or ANCCE and APSL? I know there are other Iberian registries, and their standards may be different for both inspection (if there is one) and registration.

      I have somewhat limited experience with Iberians in NA but have some connections and have browsed around and I cannot say I notice a huge difference as far as sporty and refinement. However, I do think that some NA registries aren't as stringent as in Europe. This goes for Warmbloods too. But worry not, we have plenty of average and somewhat "fugly" Warmbloods here too.

      I think NA does call a lot of horses "Warmbloods" that aren't necessarily Warmbloods.


      • #4
        With the import of so many mares, stallions and frozen, I'm not seeing much difference in the type for the KWPN horses. NL started more with an older type and working towards refining, where before importing a lot of warmblood mares we had mostly TB to breed too. They seem to be meeting more in the middle these days.
        Majestic Gaits-Dutch Warmbloods,#1 USEF Dressage Sporthorse Breeder. #1 KWPN-NA Jumpers.Standing Navarone,Schroeder,Dante MG.VDL Frozen.


        • #5
          It's been a few years since I've lived in Germany, but I would say they were about the same in my experience. In fact, in the US, there are a lot more WBs out of TB mares than I ever saw in Germany, and many of them tend to be more refined. I do think you need to look at the market. In the US, we have a huge hunter market, and those horses are often a little heavier, and always a little fatter The purpose bred jumpers on both sides of the Atlantic are going to be 'sportier' and have blood.
          A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's does that...


          • #6
            I don't believe there is a type difference; there might be a slight difference in quality but the type, to my impression, is the same. What kind of WBs are you looking at?

            There are different registries, with different requirements. Off the top of my head I wonder if you are looking at "American Warmbloods" or "Canadian Warmbloods" (or even RPSI) which are usually draft x tb/qh/morgan, and comparing them to true WBs like HOL or KPWN?

            Then yeah, you'd definitely see a difference... but across the board, if you are comparing US HOL to UK HOL, I find they are very similar in type due to the fact that there is tons of import, both of horseflesh and horse semen, used domestically and internationally.

            Most of them share very similar bloodlines; you'll find the same HOL bloodlines in the US that are dominating across the pond.. same goes for almost all of the real WB registries... The difference being that across the pond has a very deep and very solid mare-base, while some US horses come from less strong or less deep lines. This is gradually becoming less and less apparent, due to importing and also due to the fact that the US is starting to develop their own quality mare base.. these things just take time and lots of money.

            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


            • #7
              There are many points about this topic. We can all agree Europe is producing quality horses, but they have more quality horses to work with and a better mare base as was mentioned above. They have been working for decades to create their bloodlines, breeding the qualities they want (either AA or Pro rides, height, temperament) crossing which lines and a closer knowledge and history of the studs and lines. European Breeders have a better access to the stallions as well, we can only breed frozen to the European stallions. It's hard to find a European system in NA that is developing babies. More and more farms are breeding quality prospects in NA, and are able to develop them and sell them as of recent, and those are the farms we need to pay attention to.

              If I compare the HV lines, in NA they have more TB in the foals being registered. But there are the popular HV lines (E, G, F, W) while in Europe you see some different crosses there that we won't here. To find a well bred, well built HV mare in NA without being half TB is hard, and when you do they have quite the price tag. KWPN, HOL I find are breeding similar types of horses as in Europe, due to the import of frozen semen.

              I think in NA we need to give ourselves time to improve the registries/bloodlines we have now. In addition, we need people breeding to understand what they are breeding for and not breeding mares with poor conformation or poor attitudes/undesirable traits to studs hoping to create a foal with perfect confo/traits because the mare is flashy or cute. Understand the bloodlines and the history before you breed horses because the stud is flashy. Researching lines and watching and seeing offspring is how we can improve the NA quality foals.