Like many Warmblood breeds, the Bavarian Warmblood is relatively new & their bloodlines were originated in southern Germany in the hopes of creating a superior sport horse.
The predecessor of the Bavarian Warmblood is the Rottaler, an all-purpose horse very similar to other heavy warmbloods. The best Rottalers were calm, substantial horses suitable for plowing, carriage driving, and non-competitive riding. In 1907 a registry for Rottalers was founded. The riding horse direction began in 1963 and the Rottaler was renamed “Bavarian Warmblood.”
Stallions with the old type were replaced by Hanoverians, Westphalians, Holsteiners, Trakehners, and Thoroughbreds. The Rottaler blood was soon diluted and today comprises the mother line of some approved stallions. To save the old type from extinction, a preservation society was formed in 1994.
Today, Bavarian Warmblood pedigrees are made up of blood from other German warmbloods, particularly Holsteiners, Hanoverians, Westphalians, Oldenburgs,Württembergers, Rhinelanders, and Saxony-Thuringian Warmbloods, plus a number of approved Dutch Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, Trakehners, and even Budyonny stallions.
The easiest way to recognize a Bavarian Warmblood is by the brand on the left thigh, which is a crowned shield outside the letter “B”. Bavarian Warmbloods are similar to other German warmbloods in type, conformation, movement, jumping ability and interior qualities. Desirable type includes an elegant, attractive horse with dry limbs and head and clear sex expression. Conformation reflects the stamp of a correct sport horse. Correct movement includes three rhythmic gaits characterized by energy, a long stride, natural self-carriage and elasticity, with some knee action. Selection processes aim for enthusiastic, capable jumpers with “bascule” (arc over the fence), “scope” (ability to respond to changes in the environment), and “tact” (carefully pulling the legs out of the way). Horses that are difficult, nervous, or aggressive are identified and typically are not allowed to breed.
Breeding stallions and mares are chosen by thorough studbook selection, which eliminates horses that do not fit the breeding goal from the breeding studbooks. The Bavarian Warmblood is by no means set in type and recognizable the way that breeds from closed studbooks are; instead, they are recognizable by their athletic ability and temperament.
The Bavarian Warmblood is seen in international sport horse competition, including eventing, show jumping and dressage. In the 2006 final standings in international sport, the Bavarian Warmblood was ranked 13th in show jumping, 15th in dressage, and 12th in eventing.
Bavarian Warmbloods are also popular choices in the sport of combined driving and have been part of several World Cup teams. In the United States, there are several prominent show hunters with the Bavarian brand.