The Gelderlander developed
approximately 100 years ago in the Gelderland province of the Netherlands.
They were bred by the local people primarily as a versatile farm
horse, able to work on the farms, but also sufficiently conformed
to make a good riding horse. The breed evolved from a rather mixed
gene pool. The local people bred native mares to Andalusian, Norfolk
Roadster, Neapolitan, and Norman stallions. There were then further
infusions of Arabian, Anglo-Arab, Furioso, Holstein and Orlov blood.
In the late 19th century, the breed was further improved by the
introduction of English Thoroughbred, Hackney, and Oldenburgh blood.
Rather remarkable, considering the diversity of influences, a fixed
type did develop by crossbreeding the progeny, and this became known
as the Gelderlander.
They are extremely versatile
horses with an excellent quiet temperament. The infusions of Thoroughbred
have lent the breed a certain amount of class, and they are probably
best described as eye catching, medium-weight carriage horses. The
Gelderlander is increasingly being used for competitive driving,
at which they are very talented, many having competed at International
level competitions. They also have very good stamina. They make
good middleweight riding horses and are often quite athletic, possessing
a good natural jump . However, they do lack speed. They have great
presence and elegance with a free-flowing action and a particularly
stylish high-stepping trot. Numbers of the Gelderlander have somewhat
decreased in recent years, as they are increasingly used to breed
Dutch Warmbloods, which are a much higher caliber of riding horse.
The Gelderlander generally
have good conformation, with a long, sometimes plain head, and straight
profile. The neck is muscular and gently curves from broad withers
to the poll. The back is quite straight and long with muscular quarters,
which are fairly straight from the croup. The tail is set and carried
high. They are broad and deep through the chest, and have muscular
shoulders which can be rather straight. The legs are muscular and
quite short, while proportionally often being long in the forearm,
with good, strong joints, and very hard hooves. They are mostly
chestnut, but can be bay, gray, or black in color, with white markings,
and stand between 15.2 hh and 16.2 hh.
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