"They are really flexible horses and they function very well for the dressage sector," Bourne says of the attractive breed. Dutch harness is a very recent breeding horse in North America, having just been imported in the last 12 to 15 years. The first ones came from the Netherlands but now also from Germany and France.
The most important trait to look for in a dressage horse is flexibility. You need a horse that will go into any position you ask of it, whether it's a small circle or a large one. It should also be smooth muscled and have an even gait. The Dutch harness is a very suitable breed for the dressage arena because of its appearance and how well it performs.
In contrast to the Groningen and Gelderland, which were largely designed for agricultural uses, the Dutch Warmblood was created as a riding horse. The breeding emphasis has switched from riding horses to a more particular form of sport horse since the early 2000s. Although the original population of Warmbloods was quite small, modern breeds like the Dutch Warmblood are now among the most popular in the world.
The first documented evidence that the Dutch Warmblood existed is in a 17th-century book by the German scholar Joachim von Sandrart who visited the Netherlands at the invitation of the stadtholder (provincial governor). He wrote about a large number of horses that could be seen everywhere in Amsterdam - some were purebred, others not. He called them "Nederlandse paarden" (Dutch horses). This is probably when the name Dutch Warmblood first came into use.
During the 18th century, the Dutch Warmblood became very popular with both Dutch and British riders. It was used for all kinds of purposes including transportation, work, and competition. In fact, between 1720 and 1860, more than 10,000 Dutch Warmbloods were sent to Britain. After the British invasion of Holland in 1815, the import of Dutch horses fell dramatically because it was too expensive to keep importing them. By 1840, they had become so rare that only two preserved specimens were known to exist.
Although warmbloods are frequently regarded as the greatest dressage horse breed and are usually employed at the highest levels of competition, several other horse breeds may also make excellent dressage horses. ... The 9 Best Dressage Horse Breeds
Horseback riding and equestrian activities have a long history in the nation. The Netherlands is well-known for the high quality of their riding education as well as the high quality of their horse breeds, such as the Fresian horse.
The Netherlands has four main horse breeds that are used for riding purposes: the Friesian, the Nellore, the Warmblood, and the Trakehner. There are also several minor breeds used primarily for decorative purposes. Within each of these major breeds there are different disciplines or types of horses used for riding purposes. For example, there are heavy horses for use in agriculture and light-heavy horses for use in sport. There are also carriage drivers or coach horses and military horses.
In addition to these breeds, the Netherlands has a large number of cross-bred animals used for riding purposes. These include ponies, donkeys, and mules. Ponies are usually between 1525 and 1750 mm (60 inches) at the withers; donkeys, which are larger, typically range from 1800 to 2250 mm (70 inches to 90 inches); and mules, which are hybrids of a donkey and a horse, typically measure about 2300 mm (90 inches).
All together, these animals constitute almost half of the national herd. The other half consists of cattle, sheep, pigs, and dogs.
Standardbred horses were created in the United States in the nineteenth century and were largely utilized for harness racing. They range in height from about 12 hands to over 16 hands tall, with a typical weight between 450 and 550 pounds. The brains of standardbreds are about one-seventh their body weight, so they can think quickly on their feet.
Harness racing is a race conducted using a harness. A harness is a lightweight frame with straps attached to each side that are tied under the horse's neck and back. Harnesses are used for leading or pulling vehicles or other horses. Today's harnesses also have metal bits in them that the driver controls with the reins. When the driver pulls on the reins, the bit turns which signals the horse to pull forward.
The word "standard" in standardbred comes from the British term for a breed of horse known for its size and strength. These large horses were originally used for work animals in America's west coast mining camps. As settlers moved south, they brought the breeding of these larger horses with them. By the late 1800's, only horses of British origin were used in American harness races. In 1898, the United States Harness Association was formed and started regulating the sport.
Each has unique requirements, and the horses used in harness must meet those requirements, frequently down to matching colors. Draft horse breeds are most commonly employed for carriage labor, with the most popular being the Percheron, Belgian, and Clydesdale, as well as the lighter Friesian. Ponies are usually bred for their beauty and docility; they can be trained to pull carts or carriages, but they are not suitable for work on roads where they might get hurt. Carriage rides are offered primarily in Europe and North America.
The carriage driver controls the speed at which the horses draw the carriage by means of a long pole called a "rein," which he holds in his hand or hands. At the end of the pole is a small ring through which the driver passes one or more lines. As he leans forward, moves back, or makes other control motions with his body, the lines will tighten or loosen, allowing him to guide the horse along at a safe and reasonable pace. A second driver sits next to the first, holding a similar rein. If both drivers hold reins that extend to the same horse, they can make the animal go faster or slower by pulling on their reins hard or softly. The strength of a driver's grip determines how much pressure the horse feels. A light touch is best for a gentle-natured animal, while a strong hold is necessary to force it along when it refuses to move.