Gelderland Horse

Courtnee Morton, DVM
By Courtnee Morton, DVM on Nov. 23, 2023

The Gelderland, or Gelderlander, is a heavy warmblood breed of horse that was developed in the Netherlands province of Gelderland. An ancient breed, they are typically used as riding, competition, or harness horses.

Physical Characteristics

The Gelderland stands between 15 and 17 hands tall and is typically chestnut in color, although grey, bay, and black are commonly seen. Many have distinctive markings on the forehead or legs. The Gelderland has an elongated head and sometimes convex neck; meanwhile, the withers, which are slightly broad, connect with the shoulders at a slight angle, though still in proportion with the neck and wide chest. The Gelderland also has strong legs, supple joints, and tough, well-formed hooves. The breed has a fluidity in motion, with elegant high-stepping action at the trot.

Personality and Temperament

The Gelderlander exudes sophistication, intelligence, and gentleness. Aside from being docile, the breed is recognized for its determination.

History and Background

The Gelderland is a warmblood horse breed which originated from the eponymous mid-eastern province in Holland. Although the Gelderland studbook has only been official since 1969, some experts contend the breed is much older. The development of the Gelderland can be traced back to crossbreeding with a variety of horses, including the Andalusian, Hackney, Oldenburg, Thoroughbred, Norman, and Friesian.

Still considered a riding and carriage horse today, the Gelderland is beloved among equestrians around the world. These horses are becoming more popular in the show world as well for their athleticism and grace.  

Health and Care

The Gelderland is a typically sound breed with minimal health issues as long as it is properly cared for. High-end or long-careered individuals may be more prone to joint disease as they age. Yearly health care remains critical and includes vaccinations, dental care by a veterinarian, and proper farrier work.

Featured Image: jan van der Wolf/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Courtnee Morton, DVM


Courtnee Morton, DVM


Dr. Courtnee Morton is a 2017 Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine graduate. Since graduation, she completed an equine internship...

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