One of the many German warmblood breeds, the Westphalian (Westfalen) has deep roots in the north-western section of the country. A sport horse born of Anglo-Normandy and Oldenburg blood, and a close brother to the Hanoverian, Westphalians have proven themselves as able competitors on the world stage.
Early in the nineteenth century, the German government established a number of state-owned studs which were made available to the public. Local breeders were able to cross their mares to East Prussian stallions and thus infuse their stock with new blood and vigor. As time went by and the need for horses shifted from work to sport, the breed was crossed with Thoroughbreds, trotters, Fresians, and number of established German warmblood breeds to craft a more modern athlete.
In 1826, the state stud at Warendorf was established, and continues to produce a long legacy of fine Westphalian sporthorses to this day. The breed’s registry, located in Muenster, opened in 1904, and keeps track of the breeding and bloodlines. As the second largest German breed, the Westphalian remains true to its roots while relying heavily on Hanoverian lines to continue production. The stud’s goal is to produce horses with clean conformation, strong characters, and steady temperaments.
Some well known Westphalians include dressage champion Rembrandt, who performed excellently at the Olympics in the 80’s and 90’s, and Ahlerich, who excelled with Reiner Klimke. Today, the breed is represented by international stars like Fortina W and Peu A Peu, who anchor the breed’s status at 6th in dressage and 5th in show jumping according to the World Breeding Foundation for Sport Horses Rankings.