The NZ Warmblood Breeders Association began in October 1978 and was initially the Hanoverian Breeders Association.
There was an inaugural meeting of over 70 interested people, many of whom are still very much involved today. The first committee was headed by the late John Kitching from Howick in Auckland. He was very influential in the early days with a firm philosophy on what a warmblood horse is and how to achieve it - his key factors being type and performance selection. This is very much as pertinent today as it was all those years ago. About a year later The NZ Warmblood Assn was incorporated - August 1979 and thus began more than 2 decades of breeding and performance of New Zealand Warmblood horses as the Hanoverian Association began a separate organisation to deal directly with Germany.
The first stallions were a mixture of Hanoverian and KWPN-bred horses but none was licensed in their country of origin at that time. That has changed now and they have to be either licensed when they arrive in the country and have the paperwork to show this or have to be put up for Classification here in New Zealand with a panel of approved classifiers and meet quite strict standards in order to gain a licence.
Mt Everest and Ramzes ll mares from the early days have become quite an important part of the breeding stock to be used with the newer more modern stallions as the years have gone by. Some quite successful performance horses have evolved. The addition of the Holsteiner bred stallions JK Sacramento and JK Lucas in the 1980s also added to the performance horse and broodmare band - with JK Supersonic reaching Grand Prix level dressage.
Many horses have been exported, with the earlier pioneers being Willoughby (Wohler ll), Monopoly and Ludo (Witzbold) to the USA, Mosaic (Witzbold) and Jahnus (Jaguar) to Australia and to Asia - Papanui Justice (Mt Everest), Witzstein (Witzbold) and Playschool (Witzbold) and Janeiro (Jaguar) were sold to Europe after the WEG in Rome to name just a few.
Since those early days, New Zealand has become adept at breeding exceptional horses that have caught the eye of many and have been exported to competitive homes. Many New Zealand riders have also taken their New Zealand bred warmbloods with them when they have moved overseas. New Zealand is also increasing the amount of quality horses imported and bred with frozen semen. All adding to the wealth of the gene pool in New Zealand with the the addition of Trakehner, Holsteiner, Selle Francais, Oldenburg and Belgian bloodlines as well.
There have been many mares imported from around the World and improved technology relating to the use of frozen semen and embryo transfer has further increased the choices for breeders to achieve big leaps forward in the improvement of quality of type and bloodlines.
The imported Hanoverian stallions Dream Boy and Anamour have had significant influence on the quality of dressage horses available. The early use of frozen semen from De Niro, Gymnastik Star and River Dance in particular have also made an impact.
Anamour has produced Champions at levels. These include Animation, All Time, K H Arvan, Winter Acacia, Anaheim II and All Black II. It is worth noting that in 2012 KH Arvan with his owner/rider Vanessa Way is on track to represent New Zealand at the London Olympic Games.
Dream Boy's first progeny have given us some very rideable horses with National and local champions. Dream World MH is one to note, who has competed extremely well including Elementary Reserve Champion for the North Island and previous winner of the Young Dressage Horse competition when just 4 years old.She is from the imported Weltmeyer mare, Welkantje who went to advanced level herself. Others worth noting are Dreams are Free, Leo Dreams of Gold and Don Amici.
The Trakehner stallions Falkensee and Loewenherz have also carved a niche as sires of well performed horses in all three disciplines. Both are principle stud book stallions (with Loewenherz having competed to Open Medium level himself and a huge percentage of his offspring becoming successful competition horses - including Rakaunui Mastermind, On the Ball, Rakaunui Gabriella. Falkensee started with Franzie Van Brugen's Grand Prix horse Sherwood Amadeus and Monique III having been successful both in New Zealand and Australia including being named the Champion Grand Prix Dressage Horse at the prestigious New Zealand Horse of the Year show. Trakehner breeding gained a revival with the arrival from Holland Komet von C by the exciting stallion E.H Gribaldi, and Woodfield Park La Croix, by Amarduc out of a Falkensee mare classified by the Trakehner Verband in March 2007. Holme Park Flute arrived from Great Britain in 2004 and his first 2 crops of foals are looking very elegant and correct and have loose movements.
At the 2007 classification, New Zealand warmblood achieved another milestone. Alexanderschante, an Anglo-Arabian stallion imported from Australia, became the first non-warmblood in New Zealands history to be successfully classified and accepted into the stud book. This prepotent grey stallion impressed with his conformation and movement, and confirmed his quality and benefit to the stud book when his progeny were inspected in 2010 with exceptional scores. Alexanderschante competed in Australia successfully in dressage, show jumping and eventing, and has continued his success in New Zealand achieving level 4 dressage and being a well performed show horse.
Warmbloods are renowned for their jumping ability and New Zealand breeders have been active in this field. The Selle Francais stallion Valiant has produced a number of good jumping horses including Kahurangi Tarduk and Kahurangi Valentino.
The imported KWPN stallions Picobello and Senator VDL are competing well in their own right whilst producing lovely foals. Picobello is also a Principle Stud book stallion by virtue of his performances at the higher levels.
Grand Prix stallion Landioso (holsteiner bred by Land Graf but licensed in Baden Wurtemburg) has performed well in competition and was awarded the Burkner Medal at the 2008 National Championships. Karioi Sporthorses/Hartstone Equestrian – with Jody Hartstone at the helm, have been active in adding competitive international stallions to the New Zealand gene pool including: other stallion Ramazotti – a Ramiro Z son, now deceased but producing outstanding show jumpers as well as horses with great dressage potential; Donnerwind – a well established dressage stallion, this Donnerhall descendent adds a great bloodline for breeders; Whisper – sadly now deceased, this charismatic Weltmeyer son qualified for the World Equestrian Games in 2010 in dressage with Jody but due to injury was unable to compete, but without doubt will add quality to the gene pool.
Another progressive breeder, Sue Fowler of Astek Stud has contributed greatly not only to the breeding of warmbloods in New Zealand, but also with her financial support of Young Dressage Classes. The three main stallions of Astek are the Elite Voltaire (Furioso II/Nimmerdor), Kinnordy Gym Bello (Gymnastik Star/Graf Landau) and Ramirez (Ramiro Z/Roberto). These three stallions are contributing with some outstanding progeny across all disciplines, and are highly sought after by riders. Every year Sue continues to breed exceptional foals utilising the best of international bloodlines.