Explosive power, a proud and elevated carriage, and a rock-steady rhythm: the KWPN harness horse possesses everything both professional and amateur drivers desire. KWPN harness horses are known for their proud bearing and spectacular movement: a long moment of suspension in the trot; big striding front legs with high knee action; and hind legs that step powerfully under the body. They excel in national and international competitions and prove themselves in all divisions (such as singles, pairs, and four-in-hand). In addition, they perform outstandingly in combined driving. Moreover, KWPN harness horses have become increasingly popular in international driving competitions. Consistent with the breeding policy for all its horses, the KWPN’s goal for the harness horse is to create the ideal balance between talent, health, and temperament.
Above all, the Dutch harness horse is a show horse. The KWPN strives to breed a horse that lowers its hindquarters by bringing its hind legs completely under its body. When the forward and upward power comes totally from the hind legs, a horse can elevate its front end and ‘make itself big’, as it were. With this movement, the front legs are lifted high from the shoulder and extended far forward. The long moment of suspension, perfect balance, elevated front end, and good coordination between forehand and hindquarters create an unforgettable sight. The Dutch harness horse is bred for show but possesses all the pleasant, uncomplicated traits and the iron-strong constitution typical of the KWPN horse.
Breeding standard Harness Horses
The KWPN distinguishes a separate breeding standard for each breeding direction. These standards are, in fact, descriptions of the ideal dressage-, jumping-, harness- and Gelders horse. In preparation thereof, the functional aspect for sport is taken as the starting point. The breeding standard helps to evaluate horses objectively and uniformly. It provides framework in which jury members give their evaluations. This reduces the risk of pronounced personal preferences and therefore increases the uniformity, reproducibility and the reliability of the evaluation.
A rectangular-shaped body that is long-lined and well-proportioned;
An uphill body build with long legs;
A light head-neck connection and a long, upwardly arching neck and a muscled topline;
A strong and well-muscled back/hindquarters;
Correct and clean legs and has presence.
Walks with a pure, four-beat and trots with suppleness, impulsion, balance, and self-carriage;
Great suspension and a hind legs that steps actively under the body;
An elevated forehand and good self-carriage;
Is light-footed and has articulation of the joints, allowing the hind legs to step under the body enabling the foreleg to extend far from the shoulder with great elevation of the knees.
A cooperative, keen, and honest temperament;
Is intelligent and has the will to perform;
Easy to handle and responds quickly to aids.