The ancestry of the Iberian Warmblood dates back as far as 20,000 BC, making it one of the oldest breed of horse!

The Iberian Warmblood is a sport horse which carries a minimum of 25% Andalusian and/or Lusitano bloodlines from one or both parents. The ancestors of these horses include the primitive Sorraia horse, which around 900 B.C., was mixed with horses from Northern Africa. The Sorraia, perhaps the oldest breed of horse, is depicted in early cave paintings found on the Iberian Peninsula.

The background of the Iberian Warmblood is quite intriguing. Breeders of dressage and show jumping horses have long been seeking a way to breed a horse with greater sensitivity and a greater ability for the collection required for piaffe, passage and jumping. The Iberian blood strengthens the horse’s soundness, athleticism, and versatility. When bred to other breeds with the big stride for dressage, or the power and speed for jumping, the result is the Iberian Warmblood. It is a highly competitive horse known for its beauty, grace and strong work ethic.

The Iberian Warmblood registry, begun in 1998, is dedicated to the principle that “The time has come to present this exceptional and talented breed to the general equestrian population as another option for various disciplines. It is our endeavor and our passion to promote the breeding of quality Iberian Warmbloods and to educate equine enthusiast everywhere about these spectacular horses descended from the ‘Horse of Kings'”.

Scientific Classification


Horse Breeds

The Iberian Warmblood are a light horse breed and a warmblood breed. Light horse breeds generally weigh under 1,500 pounds. They are typically used as riding horses for leisure and trail riding. Being agile and swift, many are also used on the racetrack, in the show ring, and for work on the ranch.
Light horses are grouped in a couple of different ways, one being the continent or country where they originated from. They are also grouped according to training, classified as either a stock type, hunter type, saddle type, or ‘other’. A body type is generally attributed to each class, with the ‘other’ classification being a bit of an odd ball. It includes those that are color breeds or those that may fit a body type of one of the training classes, but not be used for that type of training. In some cases the ‘other’ types can also include those that may fit into more than one of the type groups.
This is a sport horse, the horse class the Iberian Warmblood fits into is the ‘hunter’ type class. It is being developed for performance in disciplines such as eventing, dressage, and show jumping.

Horse Backgrounds

The Iberian horse, originating on the Iberian Peninsula, is the most ancient riding horse known. Its ancestry can be traced back to the primitive Sorraia horse found on the Iberian Peninsula as far back as 20,000 BC, as there are cave paintings of horses dated to this time period. Phoenician traders and Celts brought horses from Northern Africa to the Iberian Peninsula around 900 BC, which mixed with the Sorriaia horse.
The Andalusian and Lusitano horses are decended from the Iberian Horse. These two horses, virtually the same breed, come respectively from Spain and Portugal. They are the proven ancestors, by virtue of DNA testing, of the Percheron, Hackney, Friesian, Cleveland Bay, Thoroughbred, Welsh, Connemara and Lippizaner.
The Iberian Warmblood carries a minimum of 25% Andalusian and/or Lusitano bloodlines from one or both parents. It was created in an attempt to fill the need in equestrian competition for a horse with the talent to perform in the highest levels of the Olympic disciplines without the unsoundness so rampant in the more common warmblood breeds with a draft horse type history. The Iberian horse has the strongest legs of any breed in relation to its size, making it the ideal horse to cross with the larger bodied horses in order to prevent splints, ringbone, sidebone, suspensory difficulties and founder.


The Iberian Warmblood should have a long sloping shoulder and a well muscled, long arm bone giving it increased ability in lateral movement and jumping. It should exhibit great ability to flex its joints and bring its legs under its center of gravity. It should have good bone density and a short canon bone with the hock slightly higher than the knee. It should have large, powerful joints with the stifle slightly lower than the elbow and in line below the point of the hip. A long arching neck, easily flexing at the poll is desired.
The Iberian Warmblood should have a tractable, intelligent demeanor. The most common height will be 15 to 16.2 hands high. Any color is acceptable.

Horse Care and Feeding

Because of its intelligence and curiosity, the Iberian Warmblood has a talent for opening gates and getting into trouble if kept in an unsafe environment; precautions must be made to “horse-proof” it’s living quarters. A good vitamin and mineral supplement as well as plenty of fresh hay and water should be made available regularly as the Iberian Warmblood will burn off calories quickly due to its diligent work ethic.

iberian warmblood horse for dressage
Image Credit: horsemen, Shutterstock

Horse Training and Activities

The cross of proven European Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds with the Spanish blood of the Andalusian has proven to produce a promising result. The Iberian Warmblood is an intelligent, tractable and well proportioned sport horse. It has the talent to excel in the Olympic disciplines. It is also a pleasurable companion horse for any prospective horse owner.

Common Health Problems

The Iberian Warmblood should be a hardy and sound horse. It displays the remarkable soundness of limb of the Spanish horses, coupled with the greater bone density of the draft type descendents. Leg problems such as ringbone, canon bone splints, and tendon problems are rare.


The Iberian warmblood is available from breeders online as well as through classified ads in most popular equestrian magazines. Prices usually begin as low as $3,500. Because of the sensitive nature and athleticism of the breed an older, well trained adult is recommended for beginning riders and first time horse owners.



Featured Image Credit: PickPik