“I am riding a Canadian Warmblood” is a comment that is being heard quite often around the horse shows. So how has this happened? In 1988 when the Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association was first conceived there were relatively few Warmbloods in Canada and even fewer breeding stallions.The Canadian studbook was opened in 1993 and since that time Warmblood horses born in Canada, that trace to historically influential sires from Europe, have been eligible for registration. Under Canadian legislation only horses of approved pedigree can be entered for breeding. Unlike many other registries the Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association (CWHBA) focuses almost exclusively on horses born in Canada and on providing service to Canadian breeders.
From a small beginning of early imports for breeding and competition, in the 1970’s and with a core of dedicated breeders, the Warmblood horse has thrived in Canada. At this point over ten thousand horses have been registered and Canadian bred Warmbloods have competed in the Olympics, the World Championships and World Cup competitions. Of course every breeder dreams of producing an elite sport horse, however it takes more than just good genetics. Sometimes it requires the luck of getting the horse into the right hands.
One such lucky horse is the international rising star, Ireland II (Zambezi x Emilion) who, under Daniel Blumen, is competing at major shows around the world, including the Spruce Meadows Masters where he cleared 1.80 M in the ATCO Electric Six Bar Competition. After this impressive fourth place finish at Spruce Meadows, owner\rider Daniel Bluman explained his reasons for moving the nine year old, from the 1.50 meter classes to challenge a high jumping competition. “The Six Bar was a class that can educate the horses. I used the class to give him some experience. My plan is to continue developing him to get him to his potential !”
Bred by Andrew Blais of Hillsburgh, Ontario, Bluman acquired Ireland II as a five year old in Toronto where he “ showed very good jumping qualities.” In the Six Bar he was clear over 1.80 m proving his excellent scope and technique were undeniable. Bluman’s appraisal of Lando as he is known by Bluman’s team – “Super kind horse. Wants to please. Plenty of ability and a great mind”.
Another up and coming FEI contender at 1.50 m is CHOCOLAT III (Carthago III x Graf Top) bred and shown by Sorine Winther from Prince George, British Columbia.
Competing on a Canadian Warmblood is particularly common at all levels in Canada and increasingly evident in the USA. Not only do Canadians travel to California, Florida, and Arizona for the winter show season, but more and more American riders are looking north to find a suitable mount. The CWHBA hosts the longest continuous running Warmblood horse auction in North America. Since 1994 over one thousand horses have sold to buyers from across Canada and the United States and some even to Europe. The sale, run by the Alberta Chapter of the CWHBA, moved online when covid hit in 2020 and expanded to twice a year. This year’s Spring Riding Horse Sale is scheduled for April 28th to May 1st.
Many American buyers realize that in Canada you get Warmblood horses of equivalent depth of pedigree and quality, with the added advantage of direct transport and no quarantine requirements. An added bonus is the often times advantageous currency exchange rate.
Is there anything that makes Canadian Warmbloods unique you might ask. The answer is yes. First, Canadian bred horses often grow up under conditions that promote strong constitutions and good minds: large pastures with natural terrain, cold winters and high quality feed. Canada has unparalleled natural resources to breed and rear quality Warmbloods.
Second, Canadian breeders are familiar with the exacting requirements of the North American style of riding: refined, responsive and highly rideable with a good disposition. Canadian breeders are knowledgeable about and able to select for the hunter discipline and equitation classes complimentary to the traditional selection for jumping and dressage. Consequently these horses can be considered tailor made, through selective breeding programs, to meet the needs of Canadian and American amateurs and professionals.
The numbers speak for themselves. Of the current population of Canadian Warmbloods under the age of fifteen, approximately 22% are owned by Americans. Since the CWHBA sales went online 20% of the horses sold have gone to U.S. buyers; including foals, prospects and advanced competition horses.
With the winter competition circuit so popular, many Canadian Warmbloods will be evident at all levels. Some prominent breeders and their clients will be among them Wachter Horses with WH LUCIANO (Leader x Corrado II) and WH LOVEBUG (WH Luciano – Atlantis x Avanti III), from Klondike Victory Farms HOOZ DA KAT (Zeno x Tempranillo) and ILANA, (Tacord x Contender), Pickett Hill Farm with BON BALOUBET ( Bon Balou x Present Value xx) and BON ESPRIT (Bon Balou x Iris de Notre Dame), and from Two Willows Equine T.W. VOLTAGE (Centim x Metall). These are just a few of the many Canadian Warmbloods to watch for.
All evidence why more people are saying “I ride a Canadian Warmblood.”