On the surface, the definition of an Arabian Warmblood is simple: it is the crossing of Arabian and warmblood horses. However, there is far more to this definition as a breed type. First and foremost, the Arabian Warmblood is bred to be a supreme performance animal: known to excel in eventing, hunter and similar disciplines. Functionality is their primary purpose, with the ability to compete on the international stage. In crossing the two breeds with specially selected studs and broods, the aim is to create a light, supple warmblood that combines the grace and presence of Arabians with the scope and athleticism of modern warmbloods.
The initial motivation in the cross was to refine the warmblood type without losing movement, as can often happen in Thoroughbred crosses. Special care is needed when selecting the sire and dam to ensure that the resulting foal is not disadvantaged in other aspects such as scope or height. The Arabian blood should add movement, intelligence and endurance while maintaining a recognisable genetic stamp that is simultaneously and undeniably Arabian.
Head - The head should reflect that of the ideal Arabian: small and refined with a dished to straight profile; convex is not acceptable. The eyes are large, intelligent and wide set. The face should taper to a point with a small muzzle and large nostrils. The jowls should be large, round and wide set to allow for maximum airflow. The ears should be alert; small, delicate and harp shaped, curving inwards to a fine point.
Neck - The neck should be set moderately high on the shoulders and elegantly arched on both mares and stallions, with a pronounced crest particularly on males. An important feature of the AWB is the refined throatlatch, called the mitbah on Arabians; this should still be pliant to allow for air flow during exercise.
Body - The shoulder should have good sloping angles with defined withers. The chest should be deep, with well sprung ribs but compact and not unnecessarily wide. The back is of medium to short length, but should not reach the shortness of most Arabians. The croup should be sloping with a strong hip, a flat croup is highly undesirable. The quarters should be powerful and developed, with the tail carried high in an animated fashion. The overall shape should be rounded and supple, not overly angular. The topline should be level or uphill; downhill is highly undesirable.
Legs - The legs are long and clean, with fine but strong bone. They have springy fetlocks with medium length pasterns, and medium to small hooves.
Height - The smallest minimum height for an Arabian Warmblood to be registered is 15hh, and individuals may be registered up to 18hh.
The gaits should be smooth, elastic and impulsive, with an unhindered, ground-covering stride. The walk should be animated, with an expressive floating trot, rounded eye-catching canter and ideally a clean and scopey jump. Collection should be natural, free flowing and easy to achieve, and the hind end well engaged. Horses should be light and agile on their feet.
An AWB should have a high trainability, with a keen intelligence and penchant for learning quickly. They should respond obediently and sensitively to a rider’s cues and a level-headed disposition is ideal.
The AWB should not contain more than 70% Arabian blood and no less than 12.5% Arabian blood, while adhering to the other breed standards.
Accepted Coat Colours
The AWB in true Arabian and warmblood spirit promotes the more basic colours as the ideal: with blacks, chestnuts, bays and greys being the most prized competition horses. Horses with these colours and minimal white patterns are eligible for extra studbook merits within the group’s merit system.
Bay (including Seal and Wild)
The AWB is a high performance horse, capable of being very competitive on the world stage in dressage, show jumping and eventing. Their natural grace and athletic movement also makes them ideal as mounts in hunters, hacks, polo and stock work.