Frisian horses are known for their beautiful black coats with long flowing manes and tails. These elegant horses stand out for their animated way of moving, making them lovely dressage horses for those looking for a stylish mount.
Height: 14-15 hands Country of Origin: Ireland Characteristics: Gypsy Manners are known for their power, style, and friendly dispositions. Gypsy Manners make a statement in the show ring with their beautiful coloring and feathers.
Their elegant way of moving and athletic ability is great for getting a start in the dressage world. Height: 15.2-17.2 hands Country of Origin: Germany Characteristics: Westphalia are known for their athleticism, agility, and friendly personalities.
From junior exhibitors to Olympic riders, many have found success with this stunning breed. Height: 16-17 hands Country of Origin: Germany (was Prussia at the time) Characteristics: Trainers are known for their good temperaments, athleticism, and agility.
Tall, athletic, and refined, the Takeover horse has made a name for itself in the dressage world. Height: 15.3-17 hands Country of Origin: Denmark Characteristics: Danish Warm bloods are known for their athleticism, style, and good temperaments.
With strong legs, muscular backs, and wonderful athleticism, they have become a powerhouse in the dressage industry. Due to their excellent temperaments and beautiful, flowy gaits, they have shown their worth at the Olympic level.
Elegant and sociable, they make great partners for all levels of dressage riders. These tall, athletic horses have everything it takes to succeed at the highest levels of the sport.
Height: 15.3-17.2 hands Country of Origin: Germany Characteristics: Hanoverian's are known for their athleticism, stamina, and style. With their sturdiness, stamina and athletic ability, they make wonderful mounts for competitive riders.
Height: 15-17 hands Country of Origin: Netherlands Characteristics: Dutch Warm bloods are known for their athleticism, grace, and stamina. Athletic and stylish, Dutch Warm bloods have all the makings of a top dressage horse.
Their lovely temperaments allow them to be easy to work, as well as letting them stand out in the show ring. Height: 16-17 hands Country of Origin: Germany Characteristics: Holsteins are known for their athleticism, willingness to please, and agility.
They have great athletic ability and movement, making them a favorite among many dressage riders. Their willingness to work and loving dispositions make them great horses for people of all experience levels.
As one of the first warm blood registries, the Holstein er continues to find success as a competitive show horse. Height: 16.2-17.2 hands Country of Origin: Germany Characteristics: Oldenburg's are known for their grace, athleticism, and power.
As one of the oldest warm bloods, they have gained popularity for their character as well as their strong bodies, height, and compact build. They move with beautiful elasticity in their gaits, which has made them Olympic Malabar dressage horses.
It often takes five years to train a horse to Grand Prix level. There are several factors that contribute to when a horse will begin training for dressage, including temperament and build.
It has intelligent eyes, a strong back and powerful hindquarters, so they look quite athletic. Holsteins are capable of heavy work, as they were used for agriculture and to pull carriages in long distances.
It is a horse of outstanding performances in equestrian competitions, and therefore a very good choice for dressage. They have big, expressive eyes in a relatively small head, which is supported by a long, slender neck.
The back is muscular and strong and the hindquarters are very powerful, which gives the horse a harmonic and rhythmic agility. They are balanced and sturdy horses overall, and their combination of qualities make them one of the best horses for dressage.
The Pass Fine is wonderful for dressage ; its temperament is fiery, courageous and vivacious, but docile and friendly at the same time. Like the Andalusian horse, the Pure Blood Luciano breed comes from the Iberian Peninsula.
The Hanoverian horse is another German breed which is often used in dressage competitions. They are strong horses which have been bred in such a way as to be particularly trainable, a factor which is very important for sports such as dressage.
If you want to read similar articles to The Restores for Dressage, we recommend you visit our Ideal for category. Like I did with the recent article on the best breeds for evening, I thought it would be a good idea to categorize the best dressage breeds into sections, the bestdressagehorses for beginners, the best for intermediate competitors and those the pros would choose.
While the first two categories will, of course, be subjective the three will be based on the rankings of the World Breeding Federation for Sports Horses (WB FSH). The WB FSH publish the official rankings for the top horses and breeds that compete on an international level in show jumping, dressage and evening.
If you’re interested in trying dressage or have just started in the discipline then there is a good argument that says it doesn’t matter what breed you’re riding. Color: Spotted with mottled skin around the eyes and mouth and striped hooves.
When you think about dressage horses the chances are an Appaloosa won’t be your first choice but you’d be surprised at just how well they’ll do. Originally bred by the New Peace Indians along the northern area of the ‘Wild West’ they were prized for their versatility and the ease with which they could be trained.
Officially recognized as a breed since 1938, they also continue to succeed in pretty much every discipline they undertake. The Arabian is, along with the Thoroughbred, probably one of the most famous breeds in the world and while a lot of people think that it’s too highly strung for dressage but this isn’t necessarily the case.
Nobody knows for sure where the Arabian originates from but it is known that horses matching their description have been depicted on rock paintings dating back over 3500 years. Arabian facts One of the myths surrounding the Arabian’s origin is that the prophet Mohammad created the breed from five horses who chose to return to his side despite desperately needing to drink.
Unlike all other breeds that have eighteen sets of ribs Arabians only have seventeen. This is one of the reasons why its such a popular choice for dressage novices, this combined with its elegant high-knee action and enigmatic way of moving.
It also has a long flowing mane and tail that are never cut and can often reach the floor. The Frisian’s elegance and timeless beauty has made it a popular choice in the movies and can be seen in blockbusters such as 300, Sense and Sensibility and The Mask of Zorro.
As you progress you may find that you want a more ‘traditional’ horse, one with a proven track record within the dressage arena which is where the breeds below come in. If you’re looking for an elegant horse that has a flowing movement and excels in all forms of classical riding, not just dressage, then you can’t go far wrong with the Luciano.
Like it’s close cousin, the Andalusian, they have been the mount of choice for many monarchs for centuries. All Iberian horses were referred to as Andalusian's until 1966 when Portugal set up its own studbook.
Today though there’s enough difference between the Luciano and the Andalusian for them to be regarded as two separate breeds. You may be surprised to know that, although they’re no longer allowed, the Luciano was once used in the breeding of the Colorado Ranger.
Character: Sell Français’ are friendly horses that love to learn. Sell Français, or Coeval de Selle Français to give it its proper name, translates to mean French Saddle Horse so its no wonder they make such good dressage horses.
Having been influenced, in the early days, by a lot of trotting breeds the Sell Français has an elegant way of moving which looks beautiful in the dressage ring. The Sell Français is said to be a classic example of a sport horse; it is strong, athletic, intelligent, has good conformation and is always willing to learn.
Until 1958 the Sell Français was regarded as a type rather than as a breed and even today many crosses are allowed to be registered. Character: The Irish Draft is a good-tempered and courageous horse that is great around children.
The Irish Draft is such an incredibly versatile horse that it just wouldn’t be right to leave it out. The Irish Draft was originally bred as an agricultural workhorse but even then it was still ridden and the numerous infusions of Thoroughbred have only improved its ride-ability.
Irish Draft facts The studbook was established in 1917 but the breed itself can be traced back to the 18th century, although its ancestor, the now extinct Irish Hobby, dates back to the 12th century. The Irish Draft is a true all-round horse that is often used for draft work, is driven and also used under saddle.
Color: Chestnut, gray, bay, black and brown are the most common but Tobago can also be found. In the development of the breed, Thoroughbreds were carefully selected for their ability and then crossed with the Groningen and Gelderland.
Later on, both German and French warm bloods were introduced which helped to create a horse that is loved, not only for its calm and willing nature but also for its extraordinary performance. Br ego, the horse ridden by Theorem Prince of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings' trilogy was a pure-bred Dutch Warm blood known as Uranus.
The Westphalia’s studbook was first set up in 1888 but the breed itself can be traced back to 1713 when King Frederick William I established the Prussian Stud Administration which, in turn, set up the State Stud of Waldorf in 1826. Westphalia facts Like most of Germany’s horse breeds, the Westphalia is thought to have descended from the wild horses that roamed the area around the Rhine since Roman times.
Character: Oldenburg's are very strong horses that have kind and friendly natures. The Danish Warm blood is a relatively new breed that was created with the sole purpose of being a top-quality competition horse.
The Danish Warm blood is a versatile horse that has not only excelled in dressage but has also done exceptionally well in evening and showjumping. Character: Being warm bloods they’re hardworking horses that are known for their toughness and kind natures.
I know that technically the German Warm blood isn’t a breed in itself but a collective term for a number of warm blood breeds, but it also refers to horses registered with the German Horse Breeding Society (Zuchtverband fur Dutch Pierre) and as such has come 6th in the WB FSH rankings since 2017, so I had to include it. The breeds include the Oldenburg, Holstein er, Westphalia, Takeover, Hanoverian and Mecklenburg.