Warlander - Form and Function
History of the Warlander
During the crusades and later in the 'Eighty Year War', it is very probable that Iberian horses were bred to the native Friesian breed. 1
In the 1960’s, Spain lifted the ban on export of Iberians and the breed began to spread throughout the world. In 2010 there was an estimated 185,000 registered Iberian (Andalusian) horses world-wide.
In the late 20th century, the Friesian started to leave its mould as a driving horse with stallions like the approved Lammert 260 Preferent - the first to reach Class Z dressage level (Fourth level equivalent) and USA's FPZV approved 'Jorrit' - the first Friesian stallion in the history of the breed to compete at Grand Prix level and finish his career listed at 6th place nationally against all breeds.
Popularity for the Friesian increased as never before and by 2012, there were estimated to be over 50,000 Friesian horses world- wide.
The Warlander horse officially began in 1990 when West Australian Karen-Maree’ Kaye of the Classical Sporthorse Stud, a devotee of Classical Equitation, began a dedicated breeding program, penned the first breed standard and named the breed.
"The Warlander was named after my veterinarian - Dr WARwick Vale.
"I fell in love with the Friesian horse but at that time 'rideability' was not as evolved as it is now in the breed. The solution, in my mind, was to cross the Friesian with the most rideable of breeds - the purebred Andalusian to improve collection and suppleness and perhaps attain a bit more bravery," says Karen-Maree'.
Easier said than done, when both base breeds had limited bloodlines in Australia, however, when the first Warlander horse was born at Classical Sporthorse Stud he lived up to all expectations.
“When he began his formal training at four years, he was willing and smart, functional, collected easily and a comfortable ride. I knew then that the Warlander was going to have a future,” says Karen-Maree’.
Great minds think alike
Over the next two decades Karen-Maree’ was approached by people around the world, who had achieved the same positive results.
Well respected USA Iberian breeder Nia Ridley established the first studbook - International Warlander Society and Registry which went on to be operated in USA by Constance Davenport until its closure in September 2012.
Constance Davenport of Immortal Farms (USA) was integral to taking the Warlander horse past the first generation proving that Warlander to Warlander (F2) breeding 'did' produce the same type and quality as the first generation (F1).
After the IWSR's closure the Warlander Studbook Society started (taking all existing registrations from IWSR) and then began a global push to gain recognition and exposure.
Instrumental to the breed’s development and recognition in Europe is Alexandra Green of Green-Horn Ranch (Warlander-Franken) in Bavaria. Alexandra put her full efforts into achieving full paperwork according to European standards for the breed. This was attained in 2010 with the Bayerischer Zuchtverband fuer Kleinpferde und Spezialrassen.
This is when the Warlander horse officially became a breed.
What makes the Warlander horse unique is that it is racially correct in the first generation (F1 -50/50%). This can only be replicated again when two 50/50% or two 25/75% Warlander horses, each carrying a higher percentage of Friesian or Iberian, are bred together.
Alexandra also saw the importance of breeding the Warlander past F1 and worked tirelessly for many years to achieve successful Warlander to Warlander breeding; again proving that the F2 horses did not lose any size, vigor or phenotype of the first generation.
Warlander horses in Europe are judged by the European judging system, which classifies horses up to breeding approval including performance testing. Alexandra’s young stallion Anubis von Greenhorn was the first Warlander stallion in the world to achieve breeding approval status through this system in 2012.
Whilst Warlander horses have evolved in a huge geographical area, the breed has generally remained very consistent in type due to the strict regulations of the mother studbooks for the base breeds and the Warlander studbook.
Today the breed is registered in over a dozen countries world- wide and breeders are utilising premium horses within the base breeds to improve the Warlander.
In USA in 2011, Vaquero Ranch’s Warlander stallion ‘Hummer’ became the IFSHA World Grand Champion Stallion. Used extensively for commercial work including the face for Guerlian’s men's fragrance ‘Habit Rouge’ he also appeared in the Lord of the Rings, a Chevy commercial, music video and print works.
In Australia Shepherds Hill Larry became the first Warlander to receive a SPORT predicate after he won an Advanced World Cup Level National Championship in 2011. The next year he went on to show his ability under saddle on the USA pilot movie ‘Frontier’.
In 2015, Ray Ariss (USA) who bred the Warlander mare 'Sabrina' owned by Karen Hollis - rode to her 5th World Championship at her first show.
Some 'cow sense' was inherited as proven by F2 Warlander gelding IF Michaelangelo who at his first national USA show, won multiple half Iberian titles in various disciplines such as Reining, Western Pleasure and Open English Show Hack as well as the High Point All - Around National Title and two gold medals for Movement to boot.
There are many more success stories but one thread remains constant with the Warlander story – everyone who meets them is blown away with their amazing nature, which will always remain the focus of Warlander breeding.
1 KFPS - http://english.kfps.nl/HetFriesePaard/Hetfrieschepaard/Historievanpaard.aspx
WSS (global mother studbook) was established to 'globally' racially standardise the breed and create a strong platform for future development. WSS governs the official breed standard thus creating a benchmark to ensure the highest of standards remain consistent internationally.
Humane practices, ethical conduct and quality of service are a priority and members must adhere to a 'Code of Conduct'. The studbook utlises the latest digital technology in order to deliver documentation and data quickly and has been firmly established with limited bureaucracy; it is staffed rather than volunteer based and can't be manipulated by any individual. The opportunities are equal for everyone and there are no politics.
WSS has a great respect for the unique qualities of both base breeds and will never presume that either should be or could be improved or changed. The objective of WSS is to capture the best and separate attributes from both and blend into one animal.
The future of the Warlander lies past the first generation where each individual must be analysed to ensure the core values of the Warlander remain intact. Education is key in ensuring absolute transparency from breeders to avoid introducing genetic defects into the population.
The future of the studbook will see more focus on F2 breeding and beyond. There will come a stage where registrations for F1 will only be accepted under special circumstances.
WSS will only base the performance ability of the Warlander in certain disciplines on 'actual' achievements.
Warlander horses are competing and winning in official dressage, World Cup driving, Reining and World Level Show classes. World-wide, there are many trained to the highest levels of Haute école / Doma Clasica / Alta Escuela. They are used for commercial work - movies, television, commercials, print media and extreme sports (Jousting).
The Warlander is not being bred or marketed to take place or take away from any proven breeds and registries who have already established their horses as supreme representatives in Olympic disciplines.
The Warlander is being bred for lovers of Baroque horses, who prize the unique attributes of both the Friesian and Iberian.
Elfsunds First Lady owned and bred by Tiia-Maria Pihlakoski - FINLAND
Warlander mare Rubina von Greenhorn bred by Alexandra Green - GERMANY