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Horses of the World - The Gelderlander

By Edited May 13, 2016 0 0

Warmblood Breeds

The Gelderlander

The Gelderlander horse is a heavy warmblood breed. Like the Groningen and Friesian, it is endemic to the Netherlands. It is named after the Gelderland province where it had most of its development.

As well as wanting horses for their own use, farmers were looking for a horse that they could sell. In the 19th century, there was a market for a quality carriage and riding horse. They began crossing native heavy mares with quality European stallions.


Quality, temperament, action and conformation were being sought. Iberian, Andalusian, Neapolitan, Norman, Arabian, Holstein and Norfolk Roadster were all used to obtain an all-rounder which could be used for farm work, carriage work and riding.

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Further improvement was accomplished with the use of Anglo-Norman, Friesian, Oldenburg, Thoroughbred and Hackney infusions. Eventually a recognisable, marketable light carriage and substantial riding horse was established, a horse of style, elegance and quality.

The breed is elegant and powerfully built with a naturally alert stance and a great presence. It stands between 15.2hh and 16hh. It may be grey, black, bay or chestnut and often has quite extensive white markings on the face and legs, including the upper legs. Bay and chestnut are most common. Skewbalds of the tobiano pattern are also seen.

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The workman-like head is long and flat with calm eyes. The ears are of medium length and quite fine while the nostrils are large. . The profile is straight or slightly convex. The neck is arched and muscular and blends smoothly into prominent, broad withers. The back is straight and strong. The croup is broad and flat resulting in a high tail set. The full, deep chest makes the breed very suitable for draught work and the shoulder is nicely sloped. The legs are well muscled. The paces are smooth and active. The handsome Gelderlander has great longevity and is a hard worker. He has a mild, good-natured temperament.

Gelderlander in harness

The action is flowing with an eye-catching, high-stepping trot. The temperament is docile. The Gelderland, together with the Groningen, has contributed to the Dutch Warmblood. The Gelderland is promoted as a versatile horse suitable for the whole family. The breed has produced some very excellent dressage horses. Gelderlanders have also excel in the field of show-jumping and have done exceptionally well in the sport of combined driving.



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