Dutch Warmbloods, or as the registry in the Netherlands is known, Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland (KWPN), boast high performance in dressage, show jumping, eventing, hunters, combined driving and fine harness. Riders looking to make it to Olympic levels or gather up ribbons at the local level are often drawn to this breed.
The North American branch of the KWPN was established in 1983 and is now one of the largest warmblood studbooks in North America. The goal is simple: to create a modern sport horse that performs at the top level of international equestrian sports. KWPN horses are known for their athleticism, versatility and good brain, which makes them the top choice for many competitors. The KWPN strives to breed healthy, happy, and sound horses with a strong focus on good temperament so that they can be enjoyed by all levels of riders.
“The KWPN-NA is both breeder and rider focused,” says Drew Kemerling, registrar for the KWPN-NA. “We’ve really tried to listen to our members and create a program that honors both the people who breed the horses but also buy and compete the horses. We have greatly expanded our awards programs to reflect our goals for this. As an open studbook, KWPN horses come in all shapes and sizes and excel in many different disciplines.”
The Dutch horse, originating in the Netherlands, started as a combination of Groningen and Gelderlander horses. They pulled farm equipment and carriages for the working class and the elite. As more modern machinery approached and the days of horse drawn carriages went to the wayside, the Dutch breeders switched their focus and started breeding for sport. More German warmblood influence was introduced to the breed to create a more refined sport horse for modern use.
The inclusion of several different breeding types sets the KWPN apart from other warmblood studbooks. The KWPN recognizes five different breeding directions within the registry: Dressage, Jumper, Gelders, Harness and in North America, Hunters are also recognized. Each breeding direction has a specific type of conformation and movement that they strive for. Dressage horses will be light on their feet, powerful, supple, willing and have good self-carriage. Jumper bred horses have a focus on scope, technique, bravery and quick reflexes. Hunters will be comfortable to ride and have more flat kneed movement than a jumper will. The Harness horse, while a small percentage of the registry, have the greatest knee action, and flatter backs to help them carry their heads and necks higher than a riding horse. The Gelders horse is a more true representation of the initial goal of the breed and strives for a good natured animal with strong bone, eye catching movement and can both drive and jump.
Every year, the KWPN-NA holds inspections across the United States and Canada called “keurings”. At these keurings, horses of all ages from foals at their dam’s side to stallions going for licensing are presented to a set of judges from the Netherlands. These judges will give scores based on breed standard and ensure that only the highest quality of horses are entered into the studbook. Keurings are not only used for marketing purposes but are also a great opportunity for breeders and owners to get together and learn more about what they should be looking for in their next top prospect.
Registering more than 500 foals a year, the KWPN-NA has one of the largest registered warmblood populations in North America. This is evident in the number of award winners the KWPN-NA sees annually; often topping the USEF and USDF rankings. The Dutch horse is also found in the top spots of the FEI rankings and contributes to the KWPN’s top placings in the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses (WBFSH) studbook lists for dressage, show jumping and eventing.
Want to get involved? The KWPN-NA has several opportunities in the near future to learn about the breed and start your journey. The annual KWPN-NA Stallion Service Auction (shorturl.at/pvKLQ) will be held February 11-19, 2023 and is entirely online. This is your chance to browse a large selection of approved stallions from all breeding directions to choose the sire to your next superstar, potentially at a largely discounted price. Proceeds from the “SSA” go directly back into KWPN-NA educational programs and provide a large pot for our KWPN-NA Offspring Futurity in the fall.
The KWPN-NA Annual General Meeting will be held March 9-11, 2023 at the picturesque Sonnenberg Farm in Oregon. This year’s meeting is exciting as we are “Back Together and Better Than Ever” after several years of virtual meetings. Come celebrate KWPN-NA’s 40th anniversary with both longtime and new members and enjoy a banquet, educational seminars, and live demonstrations.
To follow KWPN-NA on social media, please see our website, Facebook page, Instagram or Youtube channel. Go Dutch!