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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Gelderlander Horse

Breeds of Livestock - Gelderlander Horse



The Dutch Province of Gelderland has a tradition of excellence in horse breeding. The province gives name to an excellent breed of horse which has evolved over the last century. The Gelderland is a result of extensive crossbreeding between old local breeds, notably the Friesian, and numerous imported breeds, including the Thoroughbred, Hackney, Oldenburg, East Friesian, and Anglo-Norman. Originally, the Gelderland horse was used in light agricultural work, and road harness in which its stylish gait was appreciated. More recently, the Gelderland has been used for riding, and its abilities as a superb jumper are becoming well-known.

Physical Description

The Gelderland's varied genetic heritage is evident in its appearance. Although warm-blooded, the nose is frequently convex (Roman) and the head is plain. It has a medium-sized neck and rather long back. The tail is set quite high. This breed has good shoulders, generous quarters, and clean legs. It stands between 15.2 and 16 hands. The most common colors are chestnut and gray, with frequent white markings on the face and legs.



The Gelderland is bred in the province of Holland of the same name. It is descended from crosses between the Dutch Friesian, German East Friesian, Thoroughbred, Rackney, and Anglo-Norman horses.

Notes of Interest

The Gelderland is a successful example of the careful crossing of different types of breeds to achieve a new breed of horse. For instance, its substantial body and stylish gait reflect its Hackney ancestry. Its docile, cooperative temperament reflects the influence of the Friesian, and its excellent jumping ability is probably due to Thoroughbred influences. The Gelderland, in short is a rare instance of combined excellence in the attempt to create a new breed of horse.


Photo provided by Charlie Hair

Additional information available from the Vereniging Warmbloed Paarden-Stamboek In Nederland (W.P.N.), Soesteijkseweg 260 Z., Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Photographs and information on this page provided by the Kentucky Horse Park, 4089 Iron Works Pike, Lexington, KY 40511


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Updated May 21, 1996.


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