The American Warmblood Registries

REFLECTION, owner Margaret Groom (VA), rider Donna Gatchell (VA)—2021 Prix St. Georges Open and Vintage Cup Prof. (American Warmblood Registry) Photo by Purple Horse Designs

By Amber Wiseman

The American Warmblood is supported by two Participating Organizations in the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program – the American Warmblood Registry (AWR) and the American Warmblood Society & Sporthorse Registry (AWSSR). 

The term American Warmblood is a catch-all term, with both registries accepting most breeds. Both are performance registries, granting registration through performance evaluations to encourage sound breeding practices of performance sporthorses. Both AWR and AWSSR require DNA profiling and microchipping for registration, although they do not discriminate against specific breeds. Both registries maintain their own studbooks, host their own inspections, and have their own standards for acceptance, but both ultimately have the same goal – ensure American breeders are producing the highest quality of performance sporthorses possible.

The American Warmblood Registry hosts annual Breeding Stock Approvals, and carefully maintains their Registries and Studbooks, with the aim of maintaining the highest possible standard of the American Warmblood Sporthorse. The American Warmblood Registry Studbooks consist of the Stallion Book, the First Premier Mare Book, and the First Premium Mare Book. Inclusion in these Books is based on grades, given at Breeding Stock Approvals. These Books feature the most highly sought breeding stock – to produce a well-balanced, athletic horse with round, generous strides and natural, elastic movement, who is bold, even- and willing tempered, and physically and mentally able to perform with excellence.

Inclusion in the registry is permitted for foals of live-cover, artificial insemination, transported semen, or embryo transfer conception. All other requirements must also be met for registration. Stallions must hold an annual breeding permit, issued from the American Warmblood Registry prior to breeding, in order for offspring to be eligible for registration without the breeder incurring significant additional fees.

All sporthorses foaled in North America are eligible for registration with the American Warmblood Registry, and all sporthorses imported to North America are eligible for inclusion in the American Warmblood Registry Stud Book. Horses of any breeding may be registered, with accompanying DNA testing and microchipping. Those being used for breeding purposes must be presented for inspection. Both mares and stallions must undergo a six-stage inspection, with stage 5 (the performance evaluation) being completed by the time the horse reaches the age of five years. Foals and youngstock are inspected in four stages to evaluate type, frame, conformation, movement, and general impression. These inspections are designed to present the horse as naturally as possible. 

The American Warmblood Society & Sporthorse Registry was originally founded in 1983 as the American Warmblood Society, later expanding to better serve the needs of its members and become a performance-based registry. For acceptance into the registry, horses must satisfy a performance requirement in one of six approved disciplines, by competing and scoring above a minimum threshold at a national federation approved show. The disciplines are Sporthorse/In-Hand, Dressage, Eventing, Combined Driving, Hunter, or Show Jumping. Until the performance requirement is met, horses can be granted a pending certificate, indicating owners have completed the registration application, provided DNA test and microchip information, and provided the necessary photos of the horse.

The AWSSR maintains three registration books – the Main Book (generally certified through a horse’s performance record, as pedigree information is not necessary), the Elite Book (four generations of proven sporthorse performance in one of the approved disciplines is required), and the Sport Pony Book (a sub-registry of the Main Book, geared towards performance ponies measuring between 13.0h-14.2h). The AWSSR also offers a 5-Star Program, to recognize outstanding accomplishments for inspections and performance at elite levels, and outstanding inspections and performance of offspring.

In conclusion, the American Warmblood Registry is a registry focussed significantly more towards breeding, while the American Warmblood Society & Sporthorse Registry focuses more heavily on the competition performance of a horse for registration. In conjunction, both registries are incredibly useful for both competitors and breeders alike, offering awards programs, breeding and education programs, and more for their respective members. USDF is pleased to have both as Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards Participating Organizations.


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